Council set aside space for Magilligan Prison petition
A SPACE has been set aside at the council building in Limavady for members of the public to come and sign a petition in support of keeping HMP Magilligan open.
Limavady’s councillors voted in favour of a proposal to allow a space in the council building for people to come along and sign a petition launched today by the Prison Officers Association.
A spokesperson for the Association told the Sentinel that they are expecting around 20,000 signatures for their petition, which is aimed at putting pressure on Justice Minister David Ford to keep Magilligan open. Around 400 people, most of whom are local, are employed at the Prison.
The proposal was brought forward by DUP councillor and Deputy Mayor Alan Robinson, who said: “At Tuesday night’s Council meeting I proposed that the Borough Council allocate an area within the Council building to afford the public the opportunity to sign the petition. I’m delighted that my proposal, seconded by my colleague Councillor James McCorkell was given unanimous support and that it will now be available in the Council reception area at Connell Street.
“The Minister and his Department must be sent a clear message that we will not stand idly by and watch the heart being ripped from Limavady whilst more jobs are lost to the greater Belfast area. With the impact of any such closure being estimated to take in the region of £10 million from the local economy it is therefore imperative that this proposal be vigorously resisted.”
The Deputy Mayor and his DUP party colleagues are strongly urging the Limavady community to get behind the campaign against the proposed closure of HMP Magilligan – something the Roe Valley Chamber of Commerce believes will cost the local economy as much as £10 million per year.
Councillor Robinson said: “Since the revelations within the Prisons Estate Strategy recommending the decommissioning of Magilligan Prison we have the lead the charge opposing any such closure with a series of initiatives.
“We have tabled and debated motions in Limavady Council and in the Northern Ireland Assembly. A similar motion was tabled in neighbouring Coleraine Council.
“These motions were followed up when I proposed that Limavady and Coleraine Councils in the company of the local Chambers of Trade meet face to face with David Ford, the Justice Minister to express our serious concerns at how the closure will have a catastrophic impact upon this local region. Limavady DUP have also drawn up a 10 page response to the Northern Ireland Prisons “Estates strategy consultation and offered out the template to anyone wishing to respond in person. That offer remains.
“The latest initiative will be a launch of a petition by The Prison Officers Association on Friday, September 21, calling upon the community to oppose any attempts to close HMP Magilligan. As Deputy Mayor of this Borough I would call upon our community over the next few weeks to sign this petition in their thousands.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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