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Boylan confirms Environment Ministerial support for Armagh Observatory

29 April, 2008

Following a question from Newry and Armagh MLA, Cathal Boylan, the Minister of the Environment has confirmed that she has written to the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure to highlight the important work carried out by the Armagh Observatory in monitoring Climate Change.

Mr. Boylan had asked the Minister 'what action she is taking to ensure adequate funding for the Observatory given the environmental work it carries out in relation to climate change?'

In response Arlene Foster stated she had written to Edwin Poots that she would, 'be concerned if a situation were to arise whereby the Observatory would be no longer able to supply such information.'

The Minister also stated that she was hopeful such an important facility will continue to receive the necessary Government support to secure its future for generations to come - but ultimately it was a matter for the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Welcoming the commitment from Arlene Foster the Sinn Féin Assembly member said,

"I welcome the Environment Ministers concern on this matter and I would urge a joined up approach to the funding problems at the Observatory.

"This matter needs to be discussed by a number of Executive Ministers including Culture Arts and Leisure; Environment; Employment and Learning; Enterprise, Trade and Investment; and Finance and Personnel.

"I believe all have vested interests in the work the of Observatory and its' promotion in information, education and tourism. I would hope that all recognise the benefits of a renowned world class facility and ensure it receives continued support.

"I was disappointed with the DCAL Ministers response recently at question time where he seemed to criticise the Management and Trustees of Armagh Observatory for bringing their concerns to the public domain - he was obviously hoping the matter could be buried so he would not have to deal with it.

"But this issue needs to be addressed publicly and openly and the Minister will have to face up to his responsibilities, just as he has to face up to the Long Kesh stadium issue and the need for an Irish Language Act. Burying his head in the sand and hoping things will go away is not going to work." ENDS

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