Iain McAfee has called for movement on the development of an Ulster Scots hub at the former Music Centre in Ballymoney.
For some years the Music Centre has been vacant and declared surplus to requirement by its current owners the NEELB.
Mr McAfee who will stand in the Ballymoney Town Ward in the Local Government elections said ‘The potential this project has for the area cannot be understated. It ticks many boxes for Ballymoney and would be a major boost to the town and its local economy. There are Ulster Scots descendents throughout the world and many come to Northern Ireland seeking information on their family heritage.’
Mr McAfee also claimed there is an eagerness for programmes and classes in Ballymoney and its neighbouring Council areas insisting that any centre promoting Ulster Scots and its traditions should be placed where it is naturally at its strongest.
He said: “There is a wanting in the local community for more activities such as Highland/Scottish Country dancing, language classes and musical tuition. I have spoken to the staff at the local Ullans Centre and they are doing their best to support these needs but it is clear that they have outgrown their present facility and could certainly benefit from the development of the Centre.”
Mr McAfee also explained that he had sent correspondences to the then DUP Minister responsible for Culture, Arts and Leisure Nelson McCausland to enquire as to what the Department intended to do however did not receive a reply. He also queried what efforts were made by political representatives locally to progress the project.
“Ballymoney is already a focal point for Ulster Scots activity with various programmes and festivals regularly organised so it therefore crucial that this is not only supported but developed to it full potential. It is also my opinion that Ballymoney has the potential to be the gateway to the Causeway Coast and the development of the Music Centre into an Ulster Scots hub should be its centrepiece,” he added.