Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly and member of the Stormont Agriculture and Culture Committees, has challenged Invest Northern Ireland to urgently implement a plan of action “to breathe new energy into Ballycastle’s Marine Hotel and bring it back to life economically”.
Assemblyman Swann, the current North Antrim UUP Chairman, said it was “exceptionally sad to see that this once proud Marine Hotel was in receivership and was sitting empty and unused”.
Mr Swann said the Marine Hotel was once one of Ballycastle’s most well known and proud landmarks.
Speaking about the issue, Assemblyman Swann added: “At present, Ballycastle, which is a key town on the Causeway Coastal Route, does not have any hotel facilities.
“Here we have the Marine Hotel, sited in the middle of the sea front, lying empty and neglected. The lack of hotel facilities means that many tourists and visitors to the town will not stop or stay over.
“Ballycastle and North Antrim depends heavily on tourism for trade and income and it is of prime importance that the Marine is opened again without further delay.”
Assemblyman Swann’s words were echoed by Moyle UUP Councillor Joan Baird, who said that she had brought the issue of the Marine Hotel to the attention of Council and again at the Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism Partnership planning meeting.
Councillor Baird said that it was very bad that Ballycastle would miss out on much of the trade from the Irish Open Golf this summer because the Marine was shut.
Councillor Baird added: “When I am shopping in Ballycastle, I frequently see tourists trying the door of the Marine, which is of course locked.
“The Marine Hotel is important to tourism and indeed to local people who used it as a venue for weddings and funerals.
“I sincerely hope my party colleague Robin Swann’s intervention will be successful in having the hotel brought back to life and that is can again be a centre point for tourists and the community alike,” said Councillor Baird.