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Invest NI should give money to Ballycastle hotel proposals – not hand it back!‏

19 January, 2012

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that Invest NI and the Enterprise Minister must ensure that money is available for hotel provision in Ballycastle if any projects are forthcoming in the period ahead. Mr McKay was speaking after questioning the Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster at Question Time in the Assembly.

He said:

“The business community as well as the public in general are not happy that Invest NI are regularly in a position of not being able to spend their money and are now regularly putting money back to the Department of Finance and Personnel.“I have held a meeting with the Enterprise Minister, I have sent her numerous written questions and have again questioned her on the floor of the house on the fact that I do have a proposal for what she and Invest NI should spend their money on instead of handing it back – a hotel in Ballycastle.

“I think that Ballycastle needs to be part of the project when it comes to Golf tourism and events in Portrush. We are just a stones throw away and the Department must ensure that the town is not treated as being beyond the periphery in this regard. Ballycastle is at the heart of the Causeway Coast & Glens and is the gateway to Rathlin, it is a perfect site for a four star or five star hotel as envisaged in the the ‘Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism Masterplan’ for 2004-2013.

“The Minister has responded to me by saying that she is supportive of a hotel in Ballycastle and that if the private sector takes the lead then financial support can be sought from Invest NI. If a viable proposal is brought forward in the time ahead for Ballycastle which is of a high standard and meets the funding criteria of Invest NI then I and the wider community has an expectation that Invest NI and the Minister will work constructively with us to deliver that hotel. There is no excuse in my opinion for dashing those expectations – especially when Invest NI cannot find significant projects to spend millions of pounds on.”

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