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Anderson calls for funding for North West sports facilities

4 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Spokesperson, Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) has called on Sports Minister Edwin Poots to make available sufficient upgrade funding to ensure that sporting facilities in Derry are capable of securing designation to host Olympic athletes.

Martina Anderson said;

"The fact that only one facility in the North West has been short listed to host athletes attending the 2012 London Olympics serves only to highlight the dire straits in which sporting bodies exist in this region.

"For years sports organizations in Derry have been complaining about the lack of government investment in sports in the North West. Nothing could confirm this belief better than the fact that only one facility has been short listed for this event. Even this facility is not capable of hosting these athletes as things stand. Before it does it will have to secure a high level of external funding, due to very limited capital available from Council.

"The question must also be asked as to why Templemore Sports Complex was not considered for athletics as its running track is of similar standard to the Mary Peter's Track which has been short listed.

"I would urge Derry City Council to vigorously pursue Minister Poots to secure the necessary financial injection required if Derry is to have any chance of attracting any of these training camps.

"We must play to our strengths such as the direct airlink between City of Derry and London, the tradition of providing excellent sportspeople in boxing, athletics, swimming and other codes.

"The potential for sports tourism that could be developed out of such an event would be tremendous. The probability is that the opportunity to see these Olympic athletes train in Derry is as close as most people here will ever get to the actual Olympics. Failure to attract the necessary funding to secure the facilities for training facilities would only compound the existing East/West imbalances in sports facility provision.

"I would encourage all sports enthusiasts and anyone who is interested to lobby their public representatives, both at Council and Assembly level to act as one to ensure that Derry does not lose out again." ENDS

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