ROBIN Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman, has welcomed news that Ballycastle’s Marine Hotel has been sold and has urged the new owners to implement a plan of action as soon as possible “to breathe new energy into the famous hotel and bring it back to life economically”.
Assemblyman Swann, the North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Chief Whip, said it had been “exceptionally sad to see that this once proud Marine Hotel was in receivership and was sitting empty and unused”.
Mr Swann said he hoped both the new owners and Invest Northern Ireland could join forces to ensure the Marine Hotel was once again restored to become one of Ballycastle’s most well-known and proud landmarks.
“With the hotel going into new ownership, hopefully it can become a beacon of success for the tourism industry, not just for Ballycastle town and the general Moyle region, but right across the entire North Antrim constituency.”
Speaking about the sale, Assemblyman Swann added: “At the moment, Ballycastle, which is a key town on the Causeway Coastal Route, does not have any hotel facilities. I hope it will not be too long before the hotel is formally opened and the tourists come flooding back to the area.
“Here we have the Marine Hotel, sited in the middle of the sea front, currently lying empty and neglected. The lack of hotel facilities means that many tourists and visitors to the town will not stop or stay over.
“Hopefully too, the new owners will be able to redress this dreadful situation. I also urge Invest Northern Ireland to give whatever support it can to kick start the tourism industry in the town.
“Ballycastle and North Antrim depend heavily on tourism for trade and income and it is of prime importance that the Marine is opened again as soon as possible.”
Assemblyman Swann said the Ulster Unionist Party had brought the issue of the Marine Hotel to the attention of Moyle Council and again at the Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism Partnership planning meeting.
He said it was essential Ballycastle did not miss out on much of the trade from the Irish Open Golf this summer because the Marine was shut.
Mr Swann added: “When I was visiting Ballycastle, I frequently saw tourists trying the door of the Marine, which was 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 the new owners and Invest NI 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 Assemblyman Swann.