A DELEGATION of councillors from Coleraine, Limavady and Ballymoney met with Justice Minister, David Ford, last Wednesday to press on the proposed closure of Magilligan Prison.
The group included chief executives from each of the councils and representatives from the Roe Valley Chamber of trade and N.I. Independent Retail Trade Association.
Coleraine councillors in the delegation were Roisin Loftus, David McClarty, William Creelman and William McCandless.
In April this year the Justice Minister announced that plans are in place to close the prison and build a replacement facility closer to Belfast.
Speaking after the meeting, UUP councillor William McCandless said: “ The Justice Minister listened to our comments and has invited us to return in a few months with a constructive, cogent, lucid debate for the future of H.M.P. Magilligan.
“It was highlighted to the Minister that apart from the financial implications the most important consideration must be the people.
“Magilligan is an award winning prison and has proved successful in rehabilitating offenders to society. Why jeopardise this expertise?
“Overall it was a successful meeting, and I look forward to working with councillors from the neighbouring areas to return to the Minister with our proposals and endeavour to work towards a successful outcome for Magilligan.”
On Saturday afternoon, DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell, MLAs and councillors collected signatures for a petition to keep the prison open at the Diamond Centre in Coleraine.