“If it was raised on the margins it was done so in an individual capacity..”

The DUP appear to be invoking a variation of the doctrine of plausible deniability [and implausible ignorance? – Ed] in response to one of the Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon’s recent reports of the lobbying of Ian Paisley on behalf of Seymour Sweeney’s Giants’ Causeway development..

The DUP statement said: “The Belfast Telegraph has speculated that the issue of the Giant’s Causeway visitor centre was raised at St Andrews as part of a ‘shopping list’ that DUP negotiators wanted the NIO to address. This issue formed no part of the DUP’s negotiations. It was not raised by or with the party, nor was it included on any ‘shopping list’ considered and approved by the party.

“If it was raised on the margins it was done so in an individual capacity and without the party’s knowledge or consent.”

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  • Nevin

    Was the DUP lobbying at St Andrews much different from this? (pdf format)

    The Causeway. The Giants Causeway is known the world over as a significant landmark. This site attracts significant tourists – over 400,000 last summer alone. Yet it is not being marketed or exploited to its full potential. We believe that tourism can only succeed where the experts are involved and that most certainly includes the private sector. Without their expertise tourism will not grow significantly. We understand that a competition has been launched for a new Causeway centre though we fear this remains a time marking exercise. The original tourism centre here was burnt to the ground in 1999 [it was 2000]. All efforts since then to rebuild it have been frustrated. The current blueprint we feel is inadequate and constrictive so much so that if it is built it will be too small to meet tourist needs. With the decline of other industries this tourist initiative must be exploited otherwise tourists will go elsewhere.

    I think we should know by now that there had only been one private sector applicant involved in this project.

    The above quote is taken from a document dated 20th June 2005. It has a handwritten note, “Handed to SoS at meeting with DUP delegation. Treat as MC” The document is on the PlanningNI website – in the Department of the Environment.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s quite clear. The statement by the DUP seems to confirm that the issue was brought up at St. Andrews.
    And are they willing to tell us who brought it up?
    Probably not.

  • Nevin

    On July 9 this year a delegation from Coleraine Borough met with Minister Foster and her officials to discuss inter alia a controversial Seaport planning application in Mountsandel, Coleraine.

    Nine days later she visited the Giant’s Causeway, accompanied by at least one of her senior planning officials, where there’s another controversial Seaport planning application ie the Visitor Centre on a green field site adjacent to the World Heritage site.

    And yet she (still) claims to know nothing about Sweeney, Seaport’s director. It’s all very strange. You’d think that her officials would have briefed her about the minefield she’d entered.

  • Nevin

    SF to put pressure on DUP Minister via Environment Committee.