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Sinn Féin make case for Girdwood and Crumlin Road Development

1 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly and local council colleague Carál ní Chuilín this morning discussed the future development of the Girdwood Barracks and Crumlin Road Prison sites with the British Direct Rule Minister David Hansen.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Kelly said:

" At this mornings meeting we impressed upon the Minister the importance of the development of both the Crumlin Road site and the former Girdwood Barracks for the community throughout North Belfast. It is a priority that the project is set up without any further delay and the Minster indicated that this would happen before Christmas and a series of consultation meetings can begin.

" In North Belfast 83% of those waiting for housing are nationalist and this massive shortfall in accommodation has to be part of the development of these sites. There is also an obvious deficit in leisure facilities in that part of the city. Consideration also needs to be taken into the views of both St. Malachy's college and the Mater hospital as they neighbour the sites. The Mater hospital in particular needs additional land to develop its services further, this needs to happen as a priority, and we forcefully put this argument to David Hansen this morning.

" We also pointed out the tourist potential which exists with the correct development of the Crumlin Road site. Kilmainham in Dublin is currently the second most visited attraction in the south. There is no reason why a similar impact could be made with part of the Crumlin Road jail site.

" We look forward to bringing forward detailed ideas and proposals for the site to the development group in consultation with the neighbouring communities in the time ahead. It is important to get the development of these sites right but it is also important that the development of the area is not unduly held up through red tape." ENDS

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