As the deadline of 2nd October approaches for the potential sale of much of the land at the former Army Camp in Ballykelly Gregory Campbell MP raised the issue in the Assembly with the Acting First Minister Arlene Foster.
Commenting he said, “Four years ago I invited the First Minister to visit the site and see at first hand the strategic importance of it to the North West’s regional economy. It was important both then and shortly after that to ensure that, for example, the DARD HQ should re locate to the site. This means 350 public sector jobs are due to come to the North West within the next two years alone, with more to follow thereafter. It is unfortunate that while most political parties have supported these moves the UUP has not. They have repeatedly issued statements and raised matters aimed at stalling the progress on the site whilst Jo-Anne Dobson MLA has been particularly critical of the development.
Last week I tabled a Question to acting First Minister Arlene Foster about the forthcoming sale and ensuring that we maximise the site’s potential for everyone right throughout the North West from Coleraine / Ballymoney to Limavady / Ballykelly and to Londonderry. When I raised this issue there were eight UUP MLAs in the Chamber and whilst members of other parties contributed in a supportive way, there was no contribution from any UUP representative.
The UUP leader Mike Nesbitt and critic-in-chief of Ballykelly Jo-Anne Dobson were among those MLAs present, which may explain the silence. Given that this site could potentially offer employment to 1,500 people there should be no carping or fudging on this matter. People want to see delivery and this is a real and tangible project with potentially huge rewards and every political party should get behind it.”