TUV also want Ballykelly DARD jobs to go to Coleraine

Pacemaker Press Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

TUV leader Jim Allister has added his voice to those calling for hundreds of jobs to move to Coleraine rather than Ballykelly.

The Minister for Agriculture, Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O’Neill, announced the decision to move hundreds of civil service jobs from the Greater Belfast area to Ballykelly in September 2012. The move would see the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) headquarters based at the former army base.

Former UUP leader Tom Elliott recently lobbied the Minister to move the jobs to Coleraine. Now, Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister has added his voice to the calls for the Limavady Borough to lose out to their North Coast neighbours on the potentially huge jobs bonus.

Mr Allister wrote to the Minister this week to ask: “In relation to the potential relocation of departmental headquarters and considering the excessive decontamination costs associated with the Ballykelly site, whether she will consider, at least as an interim solution, utilising office space which may become available in County Hall, Coleraine, in the event of the closure of the Driver and Vehicle Agency office.”

In a similar response to that given to former UUP leader Tom Elliott, Mrs O’Neill replied: “In September 2012, I announced Ballykelly as the preferred location for my departmental

headquarters. I remain committed to this decision.

“As I have outlined before I want to play my role, along with my Executive colleagues, in dealing with the issues facing the Civil Service resulting from the loss of the work from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

“I have asked my Permanent Secretary to consider the ways in which my Department can help and I do not want to pre-empt this work.”