Ulster Unionist Councillor, Richard Holmes, has spoken of his fear for the local tourism industry following comments by former NW200 Chief Mervyn White who stated there could be a “drastic impact” on the race’s future as they await a council decision on a £60k lifeline.
Emergency funding has been stopped after a council decision in March to support local events was called in by Sinn Fein, Alliance and SDLP. As a result, the implementation of the decision taken by council has been delayed.
“This is a catastrophic decision taken by Sinn Fein, Alliance and the SDLP” said Cllr Richard Holmes. “Councillors were well aware of the impending financial consequences of a failure to agree emergency funding to these organisations. In a matter of weeks, we see that played out in the local media with Mervyn White spelling out in grave terms the effects on an organisation such as the NW200.
“Local people with council support have spent decades building a thriving local events scene. The NW200 and the SupercupNI are world leading and the Stendhall Festival is growing rapidly. It is imperative that we support them and others through the pandemic to ensure they can continue to deliver for decades to come.
“But Sinn Fein, Alliance and the SDLP seem determined to ruin the events sector and the local economy with this reckless call in. They should withdraw the call in to allow support for events in desperate need now.”