Ulster Unionist Party Leader Mike Nesbitt has demanded urgent clarification from the Sports Minister following her comments at Assembly Question Time yesterday that as part of the legacy of Londonderry’s year as UK City of Culture, £1.5 million would be awarded to Coleraine Showgrounds, an announcement that seemed to be contradicted by the Minister later via a personal tweet.
Mr Nesbitt said:
"At Assembly questions on Tuesday I asked the Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure, Caral Ni Chuilin MLA, for an update on her work to ensure the legacy of Londonderry as the UK City of Culture.
“In her answer, the Minister stated; “I mentioned the Foyle valley gateway, which is looking at the Daisyfield/Showgrounds project. That is primarily about sport in the city of Derry. A total of £2·5 million has been identified, through Limavady Borough Council, for a new sports complex in Dungiven and £1·5 million for Coleraine Showgrounds.’
“Needless to say, this news was greeted with delight in Coleraine, especially amongst the local football fraternity. However, last night a tweet appeared from Caral Ni Chuilin which said “Coleraine Borough Council are getting the money for mixed use pitches.”
“The most obvious point to make is that Coleraine Borough Council does not own the Showgrounds, so the Minister needs to provide urgent clarification as to which of her statements is correct. The one made to the Assembly or the one on a Twitter account? Either way, someone is going to be left extremely disappointed.”