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DUP's praise for motion on sport events is criticised

By Noel McAdam

Published 15/11/2016

The DUP has been accused of "back-slapping" and self-congratulation as it praised the Executive over major sporting events brought to Northern Ireland in recent years.

A motion in the Assembly yesterday also referred to the high value economic benefit that can arise from events-based and activity-based sports tourism and urged Economy Minister Simon Hamilton to boost efforts to bring even more.

But Ulster Unionist Alan Chambers said it was a "back-slapping motion" which only served "to feed into the perception that the Assembly is a talking shop with no outcomes".

And Trevor Lunn of Alliance said it had a "self-congratulatory tone" with "precious time" being wasted by the DUP in passing on "congratulations" to Mr Hamilton "at the expense of maybe discussing some of the even more pressing issues that are facing us".

But the DUP's Gordon Dunne hit back: "It was unfortunate that some parties had to use this motion to bluster in the Assembly."

He referred to the province hosting the Irish Open golf tournament, World Police and Fire Games, Giro d'Italia, the Circuit of Ireland Rally, Gran Fondo, and the annual North West 200 in the last few years.

And he argued: "Event tourism has become a real success story for Northern Ireland, with many high profile prestigious sporting events being held here over recent years. Within golfing alone, Tourism NI's strategic review within this sector aims to grow the value of golf tourism from £33m to £50m by 2020."

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