A DELEGATION from Dervock will visit Stormont next Monday to meet with a leading member of the Alliance party to discuss forging closer links between the local village and the Chinese community in Northern Ireland.
Led by officers from the Dervock Community Association, chair Frankie Cunningham and vice-chair Steven Phillips along with the Corporate Services Officer from Ballymoney Borough Council, Liz Johnston, the delegation will meet with the respected South Belfast Alliance MLA, Ms Anna Lo, who is of Chinese origin.
According to Mr. Phillips, the meeting will seek to persuade Ms Lo that links between the two could prove beneficial in both tourism and commercially.
It’s all part of Dervock Community Association’s desire to reach out to all sections of the community, but more significantly, was prompted by the fact that George Macartney was the first envoy of Great Britain to China who was tasked with easing restrictions on trade between G.B. and China.
There is a monument to Macartney in Dervock - placed there after he granted the lands in the area to the people.
Mr. Phillips said: “Given that there is a legacy of Macartney in Dervock it seemed natural to develop the links with China. Anna Lo is a very prominent politician who exerts influence.
“We are hoping that she will help us.”
Correspondence between Ms Lo and Dervock has been ongoing but communication was lost because of an old unused website used by local officials.
“We really don’t know what will come out of this, but we are going to try and develop something which will also involved Ballymoney Chamber of Commerce. Anything we can do to boost the economy will be good,” Mr. Phillips added.
George Macartney was born at Lissanoure, Loughguile, on 14th May 1737, the descendant of an old Scottish family, the Macartneys of Auchinleck. After being educated in Co. Kildare and at Trinity College, Dublin (where he graduated in 1759) he spent a short period reading law at the Inner Temple, London, before travelling on the continent of Europe, where he made the acquaintance of Stephen Fox, brother to Charles James and son of the political magnate Lord Holland. He had the reputation of being a handsome and accomplished young man.
Most of the rest of his career was spent abroad. In 1792 he was created Earl, then Viscount, Macartney of Dervock in the peerage of Ireland, as a preliminary to taking up a new appointment as Britain’s first envoy to China. He died in Chiswick, Middlesex, on 31 March 1806