Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Doherty calls for forum to draw up vision for demilitarised sites in Omagh

8 August, 2005

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty has called on the entire community to
embrace the potential for massive social and economic regeneration that now
exists as a result of the announced closure of Lisanelly and St Lucia
British Military installations in Omagh.

He said,

"Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the British Military installations
in Omagh must go and that the land should be freed up to engender the social
and economic regeneration of Omagh town and its hinterland.

"With the announced closure of Lisanelly and St Lucia it is now crucial that
the debate moves swiftly forward to discuss how the freed up land can best
be used so as to bring the maximum benefit to the local economy and

"It is therefore important that a broad-based forum of community, business,
council/political representatives and other interested parties be
established in Omagh District as soon as possible so as to draw up a vision
for the development of the sites and to lobby to ensure that this vision
becomes a reality.

"The first priority must to secure a commitment from the Direct Rule
Administration that this massive swathe of land will indeed be used for the
regeneration of Omagh and its hinterland.

"Given that the New Area Plan is at a late stage in its formulation, the
importance of this issue cannot be overstated.  I have already written to
the British Secretary of State, Peter Hain calling upon him to commit his
administration to this course of action.

"There now exists an unprecedented opportunity to replace the infrastructure
of war in Omagh with the infrastructure of social and economic regeneration.

"I am confident that this will happen and hope that the entire community
will embrace the potential that now exists by coming together in a forum
format to draw up a new vision for Omagh and to work together to ensure that
this vision becomes a reality.  ENDS

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