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SF welcomes decision of Armagh Council to purchase Navan Centre

26 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MLA Pat O'Rawe has welcomed the decision of Armagh Council to step in and purchase the Navan Centre and called on the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to re-evaluate its' original decision to withdraw funding from the centre.

The Mayor of Armagh, Ms O'Rawe said:

"This is a bold initiative. Armagh Council has purchased the Navan Centre and has pledged to find resources from within its own tourism budget to keep the centre open.

"I also welcome the council's commitment to ensure that this initiative will not impact on local ratepayers.

"However, this puts an onus on DCAL to re-evaluate their original decision to withdraw financial support for the Navan Centre. The decision three years ago led to the centre's closure. It was the wrong decision and this initiative paves the way for a departmental rethink.

"The Navan Centre is not only an important part of the attraction that Armagh has to offer local and international visitors, it is also a vital resource in discovering Ireland's rich history and heritage. It was a disgrace that DCAL withdrew funding from this centre in the first place and forced it to close.

"The Departments original decision to withdraw funding on the grounds of insufficient visitor numbers does not stand up to scrutiny. I challenge DCAL to publish a comparison between Navan and the other visitor attractions that it has continued to give financial support to." ENDS

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