28/11/2008

Belfast Pumps Millions Into Titanic Project

A £10 million contribution to the ground-breaking Titanic Signature Project is expected to be ratified by Belfast City Council next month.

Councillor Diane Dodds, Chairperson of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, welcomed yesterday's announcement by the Northern Ireland Executive offering up to £43.5million toward the £97 million Titanic Quarter Limited proposal for the initiative and said that a special Council meeting on 16 December is expected to rubber-stamp Belfast's contribution.

Councillor Dodds said: "Belfast City Council has already agreed in principle to contribute £10 million to the project.

"The Council had to wait until the Executive made its decision and now that is in place we can proceed with our planned meeting in December.

"The timing will allow work on the project to begin in January, as outlined by the Executive," she explained.
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"Without wishing to pre-empt our discussion, I think that the response will be positive, given that this project will create 600 construction workers jobs and 250 permanent jobs.

"It is important in the current economic climate that we don't limit ourselves to short term fixes but also take a long term view," she continued.

"There is clear evidence that this will prove to be is a significant investment that will result in consolidating and growing the Belfast tourism product, which we all know has been a major success story in recent years.

"It will also reinforce Belfast's position as the tourism gateway and all of Northern Ireland’s tourist attractions will benefit as a result," she said, noting that, in bringing the Titanic story back home to its birthplace now, it will be in time for its centenary, which is expected to attract up to 400,000 visitors, who will spend up to £30m each year."

As well as Belfast City Council's £10 million contribution towards the remaining £53.5 million, it is expected the rest will come from Titanic Quarter Limited and Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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