Courtesy of David Gordon’s latest report on the DUP leader’s response to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s refusal of Seymour Sweeney’s application for a grant in 2003, we have the text of the letter sent. And, interestingly, it appears to have been signed on his behalf by Ian Paisley Junior. Updated below the fold.From the letter
“Most serious of all are your allegations that the quality design and application failed to demonstrate that the work proposed showed an awareness of the standards, design, materials, choice and scale required for a world heritage site of national importance. To that I say absolute rubbish.
“UNESCO saw and approved the plans and they were actually very impressed by the proposal.
“Given that you have obviously not considered the detailed designs which were far in excess of other proposals that were made at the same time and are currently being pursued I believe that your reasoning here is completely wrong. You state that public benefits were not demonstrated and that the community in which it was located did not support it. Once again, this is absolute nonsense. The local District Council, when they voted on the various proposals that were actually put to them, demonstrated more support for this application than a rival application by the National Trust, of which I am a member. The Council has now been reluctantly left to go it alone with a much smaller and less ambitious project that would certainly not meet any of the criteria that you have identified.
“To suggest that there would be no additional benefits from such a project is once again sheer nonsense. Either you are completely detached from what is happening on the ground in Northern Ireland, have been poorly advised or are pursing an agenda to ensure that a rival bid receives Heritage and Lottery Funding. If that is the case I will, of course, have to raise this matter of fraudulent application of funding in my constituency at Westminster.”
And another reminder of the other issue that seems to be circling around this controversy.
One point to note is that at the time that Ian Paisley, Snr or Jnr, complained to the HLF, in January 2003, Moyle Council had already decided not to sell its land to anyone.. let alone Seymour Sweeney.
Additionally, the planning application the Environment minister Arlene Foster is now “of a mind to approve” was submitted on 25th February 2002. Well before Ian Paisley was lobbying for a grant for Seymour Sweeney’s Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Trust.