An Independent Councillor in Moyle has said that the proposed transformation of the Bushmills library into a Tourism centre was ‘pie in the sky’ and was a waste of officers’ time on Moyle District Council going back several years.
Padraig McShane did not hold any punches when he stated that;
“Local Councillors in the Causeway Ward ultimately failed the Business Community in the village when they insisted on chasing a model that seemed doomed to failure”.
The project, expected to cost half a million pounds and a further fifty thousand per annum to run, was rejected by government auditors. They were required to give an appraisal following a request for a two hundred and fifty thousand pound of grant aid from Axis 3 of the rural development fund. An economic appraisal was submitted by the North East Region for a Tourist Information Centre in Bushmills which was later rubbished by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Councillor McShane said;
“On several occasions over the last two years, I pleaded with Councillors to look at the Business Case and ask themselves if they would personally invest in it – its somewhat easier to spend money that’s not your own. I suggested rather than chase another Tourist Information Centre, Moyle should use the site to develop a welcome and interpretation centre that could have been used to advertise and promote the entire District and its business. They rejected the idea.
“A plethora of Tourist Information Centres exist in the immediate vicinity including Coleraine, Portrush, Ballymoney, Ballycastle and the Causeway itself. Bushmills had the opportunity gifted to them to become the Gateway not only to the Causeway but Ballycastle and the Glens. Local representatives rejected the idea. If Moyle is to become the destination that some of us seek to promote, then parochial politics and petty grievances must be left behind. It was this alongside an inability to be flexible that proved the downfall of the project”.
Councillor Mc Shane finished by stating,
“Bushmills and by extent, Moyle’s long suffering Business community deserved this boost to establish and maximise the potential of the village and the District. The site alone, beside the car park servicing the Causeway was exceptional, but a poor Business case coupled with elected representatives’ intransigence provided the coup de grâce”.