Kelly welcomes assembly’s backing of all island tourism initiative
SDLP Deputy Leader Dolores Kelly has welcomed the Assembly’s backing of her party’s motion calling on the Executive to support and encourage Tourism Ireland’s plans for ‘The Gathering: An Irish Homecoming’ in 2013 which will promote Ireland as a tourism destination to 70 million people worldwide.
Mrs Kelly, however, expressed disappointment at the DUP’s ‘partitionist approach’ to the initiative, despite the argument that it will have huge benefits for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to Newry Times, Kelly said, “We are delighted that the Assembly backed our motion calling on the Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster, to work collaboratively with the Irish Government in promoting events in Northern Ireland as part of ‘The Gathering: An Irish Homecoming’ in 2013. We hope Minister Foster will now listen to the views of the Assembly and will support and encourage Tourism Ireland’s plans to sell our island as a great tourist destination to a global audience.”
“It is however,” she continued, “very disappointing that despite Peter Robinson’s protestations about a shared future and the end to a ‘them and us’ politics, his statements have failed to reach the ears of his own back benchers as evident through their words in the Assembly today. The Gathering is a tremendously positive initiative which will have a worldwide appeal and will draw in people, particularly the Irish diaspora, from far and wide.”
“The SDLP will continue to fight the corner of people to create jobs and boost businesses on our island. We will drive forward initiatives that will benefit all our people and will push the Executive and all its ministers to embrace every economic opportunity that comes our way in these times of austerity,” she added.
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