World heritage status must not be put at risk - McKay

SINN Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said Environment Minister Alex Attwood needs to swiftly resolve the issue of UNESCO concerns at plans for a golf resort near the Giants Causeway.

The North Antrim MLA said: “One of the reasons a significant number of tourists come to the North coast is because the Causeway is the only world heritage site on the island of Ireland.

“Having that status removed would clearly have a significant impact on tourism in the area so UNESCO should always be adequately consulted in regard to development that is in the locality of the site.

“This planned resort is a mile away from the entrance to the Causeway and would form a key part of the tourism infrastructure that is needed on the north coast. The Minister needs to take action immediately to make sure that UNESCO’s concerns around the plans are resolved and that work can progress.

“It is absolutely ludicrous that UNESCO were not adequately consulted about this application given the length of time that it was in the planning system and also the previous controversy that arose around UNESCO’s view of a plan for a Visitors Centre at the Causeway. The Minister and the Department are ultimately responsible for this further delay in the process.

“Sinn Féin is firmly of the view that the world heritage status should not be put at risk but believes that a development in keeping with the area that does not threaten that status is achievable in this case.”