Ebrington will be handed back

First Minister Arlene Foster MLA enjoys a display of Highland dancing during her visit to Lisneal College on Monday. Included are Gary Middleton MLA, and Michael Allen, Principal. INLS1616-139KM
First Minister Arlene Foster MLA enjoys a display of Highland dancing during her visit to Lisneal College on Monday. Included are Gary Middleton MLA, and Michael Allen, Principal. INLS1616-139KM

First Minister Arlene Foster says a new company to oversee the development of Ebrington needs to be put in place as soon as possible.

And she said that OFMDFM, which took over direct running of the site when Ilex was wound up at the start of April, had no plans to retain the site in the long term.

First Minister Arlene Foster MLA got a look of the ��A�" Level Health & Social Care coursework when she chatted to students Stacey Ann Murray and Alice McVeigh during her tour of Lisneal College on Monday. INLS1616-141KM

First Minister Arlene Foster MLA got a look of the ��A�" Level Health & Social Care coursework when she chatted to students Stacey Ann Murray and Alice McVeigh during her tour of Lisneal College on Monday. INLS1616-141KM

Speaking on a campaigning visit to Londonderry in support of Foyle DUP candidate Gary Middleton, the First Minster said: “We believe that the Ebrington site is much better developed at a local level.

“We will be looking for mechanisms to make sure that happens in the near future.

“OFMDFM has no long-term plans to hold onto Ebrington.

“But whatever is put in place won’t simply be a replacement for Ilex. They did their job but I think we are past that now.

First Minister Arlene Foster MLA admires the work produced by the award winning ��Keepsakes�" Young Enterprise team during her visit to Lisneal College on Monday. INLS1616-138KM

First Minister Arlene Foster MLA admires the work produced by the award winning ��Keepsakes�" Young Enterprise team during her visit to Lisneal College on Monday. INLS1616-138KM

“We need to see more buy-in from the local community.”

Ms Foster said improvements to the infrastructure was high on her party’s agenda.

“Every time I come to this city I am talked to about the A6 and the A5,” she said.

“I can fully understand that, being from a rural constituency myself.

First Minister Arlene Foster MLA chats to students during her visit to Lisneal College on Monday. Included are Gary Middleton MLA, and Gregory Campbell MP. INLS1616-142KM

First Minister Arlene Foster MLA chats to students during her visit to Lisneal College on Monday. Included are Gary Middleton MLA, and Gregory Campbell MP. INLS1616-142KM

“I know that we need good connectivity, not just in terms of roads, but digital connectivity as well.

“I can understand the level of frustration, particularly around the delays with the A5 project.

“I was very disappointing that Danny Kennedy did oversee a failure in that respect and I have to say that it is very telling that since Michelle McIlveen went into that position as minister there has been a huge difference in terms of pushing everything forward.”

She reiterated her party’s call to back Gary Middleton as the sitting MLA.

First Minister Arlene Foster pictured with Highland dancers who put on a display for her visit to Lisneal College on Monday. Included are Gregory Campbell MP, Gary Middleton MLA, and Michael Allen, Principal. INLS1616-140KM

First Minister Arlene Foster pictured with Highland dancers who put on a display for her visit to Lisneal College on Monday. Included are Gregory Campbell MP, Gary Middleton MLA, and Michael Allen, Principal. INLS1616-140KM

“There’s only one unionist seat in Foyle and we need to maintain that,” she said.

“If you vote for Gary you get me back as First Minister.

“I have spent a good bit of time since I became First Minister going across Northern Ireland and listening to what people have to say.

“We put a lot of that into our five-point plan for Northern Ireland, which we presented as the basis of our election manifesto.

“If I am returned as First Minister it will also ensure that we have the most picks in terms of executive places and have a unionist majority back in the Assembly again.”

Ms Foster visited a number of sites around Londonderry during the day, including getting an update on the sate of development of the Ebrington site.

The delegation also visited Lisneal College.