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RD10 /07

Regional Development Committee visits Londonderry and Coleraine

As part of its work on the ongoing Review of Trust Ports Policy in Northern Ireland, the Committee for Regional Development will visit Londonderry Port and Harbour and Coleraine Harbour on Wednesday 17 October 2007.

It will also hold its first public meeting outside of Parliament Buildings in the Great Hall, Magee College, University of Ulster, Londonderry, at 10.30 am to hear briefing from the Into the West Rail Lobby Group

Chairperson of the Committee, Fred Cobain, MLA said:  

“The Committee is pleased to be able to visit Londonderry and Coleraine ports. Our ports are critical to Northern Ireland’s future in an increasingly global economy - ports handle 95% of our external trade and offer development potential to the regions they serve.

“There is huge potential for growth in this sector. Any new Ports Policy must allow for the continued growth of a competitive port sector for Northern Ireland. 

“The policy challenge is to provide ports with the capacity and powers to meet Northern Ireland’s economic needs in a sustainable and accountable way. There is a need to promote investment in harbours and to promote leisure and tourism activities to maximise the potential benefit to the economy of Northern Ireland.”

Notes for Editors :

  1. Members visited Belfast Harbour for a similar port briefing on 3 October 2007.
  2. The Committee will visit Warrenpoint harbour on Wednesday 24 October and hold a Committee meeting in the Boardroom of Newry District Council offices.
  3. Ports policy: In June 2006 the Department for Regional Development (DRD) initiated consultation on a review of the powers, status and governance of public Trust Ports in Northern Ireland. The consultation focused on three key issues:

    a. Whether and to what extent the ports should be given extended commercial powers;
    b. Whether trust port status was a viable status for major commercial ports in Northern Ireland; and
    c. Whether the non-port land holdings of Belfast are a relevant factor in the decision process.
    d. This was part of a wider review and consultation on Ports Policy being undertaken by the Department for Transport (DfT) to which DRD has contributed.  The DRD consultation finished in September 2006 and DfT published interim findings in July 2007.  

The Minister has indicated his hope to be in a position to take this forward in the autumn.

Membership of the Regional Development Committee is as follows:
Mr Fred Cobain
Deputy Chairperson: Mr Jim Wells
Committee Members: Mr William Irwin
Mr Stephen Moutray
Mr George Robinson
Mr Brian Wilson
Mr Cathal Boylan
Mr Willie Clarke
Mr Raymond McCartney
Mr John Dallat
Mr John McCallister

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