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Ó Donnghaile to seek meeting with Odyssey Trust

7 October, 2009

Sinn Féin Representative for east Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile has given a ‘cautious welcome’ to plans by the Odyssey Trust to develop a £100 million project close to the Odyssey arena in Belfast.

Speaking after it was revealed that Trust are seeking planning permission for 800 residential units, two hotels and a promenade development Mr Ó Donnghaile said;

“Obviously any potential stimulation to the economy is welcome in the current climate, however any development of this scale must also secure the investment and support of the surrounding, established communities.

This part of the east Belfast is seeing increased levels of economic stimulation with the development of Titanic Quarter, Sirocco Quays and now the Odyssey. however it is essential that surrounding communities are consulted and involved with the process every step of the way.

For example, will the surrounding communities, some of them the most economically deprived in the north, benefit from apprenticeships for young people, or from the development of social homes? Will there be increased and improved connectivity between the Odyssey and these same communities as well as the other planned developments?

Given the fact that the Odyssey development will be financed entirely by private investment I am sure that other political and community representatives will share my concern that the project needs to be in line with the existing plans to develop the surrounding area’s and communities and not in isolation.

Sinn Féin has been to the fore in ensuring the necessary community involvement with both Titanic Quarter and Sirocco Quays and will approach this new development in the same way.

Some positives seem to be contained within the plans for the Odyssey, not least the planned leisure provision, as this is an issue which Sinn Féin has been campaigning on for some time now.

I will be in contact with the Odyssey Trust over the coming days to highlight some of these concerns and look forward to hearing their contribution.” CRÍOCH

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