Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Foster refuses to comment on leaked memo

1 October, 2007

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has called on the Environment Minister to fully disclose the Planning Service report and recommendations for the private application for a Visitors' Centre at the Giant's Causeway.

Mr McKay was speaking after asking the Environment Minister to comment on a DETI memo which stated that 'a recommendation to decline the application (was) expected to go to the Planning Service Management Board' in April. The Minister responded by saying that "it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the content" of the memo.

To date the Planning Service report has not been made available to the Assembly's Environment committee or the public.

Mr McKay said:

"The Minister has a duty to the general public to fully explain how she came to be 'of a mind' to approve this private planning application, especially given the fact that EHS and other consulted parties were of the opinion to turn the application down.

"The Minister must confirm whether what is this memo is correct. Did a recommendation to decline the private application go to the Planning Service Management Board in April and if so what has changed in the interim. By refusing to elaborate on the content of this memo raises even more suspicion.

"The general public believe that we are not being told the full story about this debacle and there is clearly an onus on not only Arlene Foster to clarify why her department done a u-turn on this issue but also Ian Paisley Junior who has kept a very low-profile since his connections with the private developer concerned were revealed last month.

"The public are demanding answers from all the DUP Ministers involved in this controversy and to date no satisfactory answers have been forthcoming." ENDS

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