Confirmation of the consequences of the ministerial ‘mind’, unintended or not, in this David Gordon report in the Belfast Telegraph of the meeting between Moyle Council, the National Trust and the Enterprise Minsiter, the DUP’s Nigel Dodds. Reading between the lines of the minister’s reported statement
“I want to see this world heritage site maintained and I have always encouraged a timely solution which would deliver value for money for the taxpayer but which would also deliver the high standard of visitor facility expected at Northern Ireland’s most popular tourism attraction.”
..It would appear that he would like it to be seen as an intended consequence and, in fairness, when the Environment minister was “of a mind to approve” the private development plans, he did “encourage all the key local stakeholders to work together to help achieve that prize [world class visitor facilities].” But with the chair of Moyle Council stating that “Moyle District Council strongly believes that visitor facilities at the Giant’s Causeway should remain in public ownership..”, and the National Trust pointing to “UNESCO’s requirements for the protection of the World Heritage Site” as well as stating their belief that “the development and management of visitor facilities for Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site should remain in public ownership”, the question must be whether the Enterprise Minister [and the Environment Minister – Ed] will now back a visitor’s centre in public ownership?From the Belfast Telegraph article
Madeline Black, chair of Moyle District Council, said: “We had a really positive meeting with the minister and his officials. Moyle District Council strongly believes that visitor facilities at the Giant’s Causeway should remain in public ownership and that income generated at the site should be reinvested there and in the wider area.”
Hilary McGrady, the National Trust’s Director for Northern Ireland, added:
“Our goals are the same as those of Minister Dodds. We too want to ensure that new visitor facilities at the Causeway will be of a world-class standard, provide good value to the public purse and are timely.
“We are also committed to ensuring that UNESCO’s requirements for the protection of the World Heritage Site are met.
“The approach proposed by the National Trust and Moyle District Council is the only way that all four of these key objectives can be delivered.”
And from the National Trust website
The National Trust believes that the development and management of visitor facilities for Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site should remain in public ownership.
One additional point to note.
I had previously suggested that public ownership would be a stumbling block for young-earther’s attempts to get their literature into any interpretative centre
A publicly funded Causeway Centre wouldn’t be as free to decide what materials were used in an intrepretive centre.
The recent written answer from the Environment minister suggests that the issue of which materials would be included in any interpretative centre will need careful attention.