‘Decision on fisheries relocation long overdue’ – Ritchie
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has said an announcement by DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill that the department’s fisheries division is to relocate to South Down is a very welcome, if overdue, piece of news.
Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “I have been campaigning tirelessly since the Minister announced the decentralisation of DARD for her to relocate fisheries to its natural home in South Down – the epicentre of our region’s marine and fisheries economy.
“It was clear from correspondence I received from the Minister that the decision to relocate Fisheries to Ballykelly had been taken in the absence of a business case and detailed information on value for money, potential savings and staff implications.
“This announcement is a vindication of that campaign and the call for the Minister to review her initial decision to relocate to Ballykelly. I have been calling on the Minster to take a fresh decision based on the facts of cost and staffing, and to make the correct decision for the public purse, staff and stakeholders involved.
“I therefore welcome this change in policy and I look forward to seeing the implementation of the plan and exploring the multiple benefits that it will bring to the area.”
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