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Sport and construction industry big losers in Campbell decision

28 January, 2009 - by Barry McElduff

Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff, who chairs the Assembly Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee, has said that Minister Gregory Campbell's paper on the Long Kesh site will have far reaching ramifications for local sporting bodies and for the construction industry.
He said the Long Kesh stadium issue had become embroiled in an internal DUP row between Mr Campbell and other senior colleagues to the detriment of both sport and the local construction industry who would have benefited from this plan.
Mr McElduff said:
"This paper is not a surprise coming from Minister Gregory Campbell who lacks vision or an alternative way forward.
"The main thing to say of course is that this is a paper which must now go before the Executive and I believe he should require agreement for the reprioritising of any substantial resources within his department.
"Clearly for sometime this issue has become embroiled in an internal DUP row between Minister Campbell and other senior colleagues. Due to their inability to agree amongst themselves it seems Minister Campbell believes this is the easiest way to proceed despite the impact on both sport and local construction industry and long term employment through service provision at any such stadium.
"Whatever about the division within the DUP it is clear that this move is not motivated by a long term strategy for our sporting bodies or the development of international standard local sports facilities here. There will be far reaching implications for all of our sporting bodies and particularly the GAA, IFA and IRFU.
"We will also lose out on major opportunities and potential windfall associated with grand scale sporting events such as the 2012 Olympics in London.
"As for the Long Kesh site Minister Campbell has now washed his hands and therefore will have no input into any future regeneration proposals for this location. That rests singularly with OFMDFM and it is now a matter of going back to the drawing board.
"All in all the big losers are sport, for which Minister Campbell has responsibility, and job creation through the construction sector and long term service provision." ENDS

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