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Lack of political will to blame for Desertcreat failure – Overend

Mid-Ulster Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend has expressed her disappointment at the news that the Desertcreat project has been halted, and blamed a lack of political will for the failure to deliver the long awaited Community Safety College.

Mrs Overend said;

“The people of Mid-Ulster have had to listen to excuse after excuse about Desertcreat, as the project stumbled from one delay after another, and now we have the news that the scheme has been halted.

“I am extremely disappointed that such an important project, not just for the Mid-Ulster area but for Northern Ireland as a whole, has been dragged into the current budget situation, when building work should have started long ago. The benefits that the college could have brought to Cookstown and the surrounding area are well established, and there will be bitter disappointment amongst the local business community at this news.

“It is evident that the construction of the Northern Ireland Community Safety College at Desertcreat has been the victim of a lack of political will, and the Ministers responsible must be held accountable. The public have many questions about the handling of this project. I have requested an urgent meeting with the Justice Minister and been in contact with the Director of the College Programme Board this afternoon, and I will continue to seek answers in the days ahead.”

Ulster Unionist policing Board Member Ross Hussey MLA said;

“Naturally I am disappointed that this project is not proceeding and it certainly will be a major item for discussion at the Policing Board. 

“From a policing perspective there is a real need for a training facility for our officers that is 21st century proofed and we simply cannot continue with the current facilities. 

“I am also concerned that a failure to spend this money could lead to it being returned to the Treasury.”

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