DARD’s Ballykelly move positive for Coleraine: McClure

A COLERAINE Alderman has said that Coleraine businesses should be made aware of the possible benefits of DARD’s relocation to Ballykelly.

The announcement about the relocation was made last Tuesday.

It will see the the transfer of the Department of Agriculture’s headquarters to the former army barracks.

The move will see some 800 civil servants being based in the village.

Alderman James McClure said the move will have a positive impact on the Coleraine area.

“I would urge business people to be aware of the opportunities that will arise if around 800 new workers come into the region.

“With the future of Magilligan Prison bleak and its possible closure a concern as far as the economic welfare of the wider area is concerned, the move to the North West should be good news for the Coleraine area.

“There is no doubt that since the army camp closed hundreds of jobs were lost and never replaced.

“At the time that was devastating to Ballykelly and towns such as Coleraine, Limavady and, of course, Londonderry.

“Many service industries in these areas depended on the barracks and many still do in relation to Magilligan Prison, not to mention the employment of prison staff.”

Alderman McClure has asked for clarification on whether many new posts will be created within the Department of Agriculture or if most current employees will relocate from Belfast.