Doherty - transfer of Lisanelly and St Lucia MoD sites on agenda for Des Browne meeting
Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty is scheduled to meet British Defence Secretary Des Browne in London this Wednesday as pressure builds for the vacated MoD sites at Lisanelly and St Lucia in Omagh to be transferred to the Six County Executive for the development of an educational village and other socio-economic regeneration projects.
Last week, his party and constituency colleague Barry McElduff MLA received widespread support at the British/Irish Intergovernmental Conference for this proposal and apart from meeting Des Browne on Wednesday the Sinn Fein MP will also be meeting with and lobbying other key figures with influence on the issue including: Patrick Cormack MP; NI Affairs Select Committee Chair; Alaistair Carmichael MP, Lib Dem Spokesperson on Ireland; and Owen Patterson MP, Conservative Shadow Secretary of State.
Speaking about Wednesday's meetings Pat Doherty said,
"In October, I held meetings with MPs from all the main parties in Britain to put this issue firmly on the political agenda and during this round of engagements I also had an impromptu meeting with British Defence Secretary Des Browne in the corridor of the House of Commons during which he assured me that the issue was now on the British Prime Ministers desk for consideration.
"Since then pressure has been building on the British government and MoD to move on the issue and during this Wednesday's meeting with Des Browne along with my other scheduled meetings I will be seeking to maintain this pressure and will be seeking to establish the British government's intentions in regards to Lisanelly and St Lucia.
"Following talks in 2003, a Joint Communiqué was issued by both governments, in which the British government intimated that it would favourably consider the transfer of additional MoD sites to the Executive of a re-established local administration to engender regeneration of areas worst affected by the conflict.
"Given the new political dispensation, the British government now has a golden opportunity to provide a powerful Peace Dividend contribution by making Lisanelly and St Lucia available and it should positively respond to the growing demand as soon as possible. ENDS