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Attwood claims smack of political opportunism - Murphy

14 October, 2010

While welcoming the announcement that funding has been secured for the redevelopment of the former Forkhill Barracks site Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy has hit out at remarks made by Social Development Minister Alex Attwood.

Mr Murphy said, “The comments made by Alex Attwood indicating that he and his department were trying to claim the credit for securing the financial support made available by Minister Michelle Gildernew and the Department of Agriculture to redevelop the site of Forkhill Barracks smacks of political opportunism of the highest order.

“Alex Attwood has been DSD Minister for a very short period however negotiations have been ongoing on the future of this site for many years. The Forkhill and District Development Association (FADDA) and indeed the whole community in that area have worked for quite some time with the Department of Agriculture, Newry and Mourne Council, the Housing Executive, local businesses and sporting and community groups to present a project which will see the site delivering community facilities, social housing and business outlets.

“I am delighted for the Forkhill community that this funding has been made available and I am confident that local people will easily see through the DSD Minister’s attempts to hijack the funding announcement.

Forkhill councillor Anthony Flynn also spoke on the announcement saying, “Now is the time for this piece of land to be handed back to the community from which it was taken over 30 years ago. For too long the people of Forkhill and the surrounding areas were forced to put up with the unnecessary militarisation of their area.

“The FADDA Committee has worked tirelessly towards this outcome attending meeting after meeting to ensure that, despite what obstacles would be placed in the way, this site would come back to the community. I am overjoyed that it has and I wish to thank in no small measure the interventions of Ministers Michelle Gildernew and Conor Murphy for bringing this project to fruition.” CRÍOCH

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