SPEAKING after the packed meeting in Ballycastle in opposition to a National Park in the Causeway Coast and Glens, local TUV MLA Jim Allister said he was delighted by the turnout and the strength of feeling expressed.
“If local democracy means anything then this destructive proposition should be abandoned by the minister who hadn’t even the courtesy or courage to attend the meeting arranged to suit his diary. I found it incredible that Alex Attwood had the date of the meeting changed to suit him and then failed to turn up.
“Preservation of the countryside does not need the dead hand of even more regulation and control freakery which would emanate from the outside management of a National Park. The first hand evidence from the Brecon Beacons was irrefutable on that. For centuries these lands in North Antrim have been in the hands of the custodians with the most interest in preserving them, namely those who own and farm them. That’s how it must stay.
“I was also pleased to see the unanimity among political representatives in opposing these plans, especially among those who in the past flirted with the idea of national parks - remember, it was the DUP minister at Environment, Edwin Poots, who initiated the consultation on the prospect of National Parks in March 2011. Now, though, judging by what Ian Paisley MP said, the DUP has seen the folly of such a proposal.
“Just as the minister abandoned pursuit of a National Park in the Mournes, because of the fervour of local opposition, so I am calling on him to promptly do likewise in North Antrim.”