Jim Wells 'disappointment' over Titanic Belfast free Sunday ticket offer
'Large numbers of people in Northern Ireland are Christian and like to keep Sunday as the day of worship'
DUP MLA Jim Wells has described it as a "pity" Titanic Belfast only offered free tickets to the Northern Ireland public on a Sunday and not across an entire weekend, "so everyone would have the chance to visit".
As a thank you for the support over the past year, which saw the landmark building named the world's leading tourist attraction, Titanic Belfast is offering the Northern Ireland public the chance to visit the centre for free this Sunday.
The offer generated a huge response, however, South Down MLA expressed his disappointment the free offering was only for a Sunday.
"Disappointing that the Titanic Centre's Free Entry Day is this Sunday. Surely, free entry could also have been available on Saturday?" He said in a tweet.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph he said he had been contacted by a constituent who could not take up the offer because of church commitments.
Mr Wells also said as a Christian and church-goer he would not be travelling to the city for the offer.
"I don't want to have a go at Titanic," he said.
"I have been many times and it is a marvellous attraction, its visitor numbers since it opened have been staggering for Northern Ireland and everything that it does it just oozes class.
"But I just thought it was a pity they did not make the offer across an entire weekend instead of just a Sunday. Even if it was the same number of tickets.
"There are a large numbers of people in Northern Ireland that are Christian and like to keep Sunday as the day of worship and that can't go. But I wouldn't criticise anyone who did go on a Sunday.
"I just think it would have been good that everyone could have the chance to apply for a ticket."
Mr Wells added: "I know this is not the most pressing issue of the day, especially for the DUP or anyone else, I just thought this was a pity."
Titanic Belfast has been asked for a response.
In announcing the free ticket offer, Titanic Belfast chief executive Tim Husbands, said: “Home is where the heart is for Titanic Belfast. We recognise that the Northern Ireland got behind us in our bid to become ‘King of the World’, from the public, industry partners, well-known personalities, politicians, sports stars and businesses.
"To say thank you for your support in 2016 and to show our appreciation, we are throwing our doors open for locals on January 8 to encourage those who have or haven’t visited to come down and enjoy the world-class experience on their doorstep.”
The £90m centre, which opened in 2012 was crowned ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ at the prestigious World Travel Awards in the Maldives.
Dubbed the "tourism Oscars" over 1million votes were cast in the competition with Titanic rising above the likes of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and the Las Vegas Strip, to take the crown.
The landmark building tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end.
Over 3m have visited the site since its opening and last year the tender, the SS Nomadic was opened next to the site.
Tickets for the Sunday's free event are limited and available from the Titanic Belfast website on Wednesday and Thursday.