Stormont chips in with £500,000 Open facelift

Portrush is to receive a £500,000 facelift before the town hosts the Open in 2019.

Friday, 9th September 2016, 9:22 am
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 4:46 pm
©/Lorcan Doherty Photography - 8th September 2016. Communities Minister Paul Givan visit to North Coast Communities Minister, Paul Givan has announced an investment of £500,000 to advance the regeneration of Portrush ahead of The Open Championship in 2019. The investment from the Department for Communities will see £250,000 respectively, provided to Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to take forward the high-level design of a public realm scheme for Portrush Town Centre, and similarly to Translink for the re-development of Portrush Train Station. He is pictured with (L-R) with the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Alderman Maura Hickey and 2019 Open Championship Committee members Philip Tweedie and John Bamber. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

Golf’s oldest championship will make a historic return to Northern Ireland after nearly 70 years and the Department for Communities money will be used to overhaul the centre of the Co Antrim seaside resort and its train station.

The battle for the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush is expected to be the biggest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland, generating more than £70 million for the economy.

Communities Minister Paul Givan said: “Portrush has long been thought of as one of Northern Ireland’s top holiday resorts.

“With the announcement in October last year that Royal Portrush will host the Open Golf Championship in 2019, and possibly twice again in the future, this means that we have an opportunity to sustainably develop the tourism economy of Portrush and the north coast in a way that will bring substantial benefits to Northern Ireland as a whole.

“To achieve this we need to invest in the infrastructure of the town, and these schemes in the town centre and at the train station will provide the foundation to allow us to do just that.”

The Open was last played at Royal Portrush in 1951 when Englishman Max Faulkner lifted the trophy.

Northern Ireland will be at the centre of the global sporting spotlight from July 18 to 21 2019 as The Open is staged outside of Scotland and England for only the second time in the Championship’s more than 150-year history.

Mr Givan visited Portrush after officially opening the £1.5 million public realm improvement scheme in neighbouring Portstewart which has transformed the entire Promenade area.

The scheme – funded in partnership with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council – involved the replacement of the existing footways with new high quality surfaces; improved street lighting and the replacement of the existing promenade railings with a high-quality stainless steel balustrade along the entire length of the seafront.