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Causeway: MLAs demand report

By David Gordon

Published 19/10/2007

Assembly Speaker William Hay could become involved in a documents dispute between Environment Minister Arlene Foster and the MLAs who scrutinise her department.

The Stormont Environment Committee has requested a report received by the minister from her Planning Service chiefs, prior to the announcement that she was "of a mind" to approve a commercial Giant's Causeway visitors' centre development.

But Mrs Foster has insisted that it will remain under wraps until she has made a final decision on the centre proposal tabled by north coast developer Seymour Sweeney.

The Assembly committee decided yesterday to write to the minister again.

If the stalemate continues, it could turn to the Speaker - a DUP colleague of Mrs Foster's - and ask him to invoke Assembly powers to seek Government papers.

Committee chairman, SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone last night said: "We want to see openness and transparency.

"This isn't about a normal planning application - it's about a world heritage site."

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