Belfast Telegraph

Stormont refuses to throw a lifeline to Exploris aquarium

By Rebecca Black

Hopes that funding from Stormont would keep Northern Ireland's only aquarium afloat have been sunk after the Leisure minister told the Assembly she could not fund it.

Ards Borough Council voted last month to close Exploris in Portaferry unless cash from the Executive could be found.

If no regional funding can be found, the aquarium will close on November 25.

The Belfast Telegraph reported last week that Environment Minister Mark H Durkan received a hostile reception when he raised the possibility of departments clubbing together to fund Exploris.

Yesterday Alliance MLA Anna Lo, chair of the environment committee, asked Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin if she would commit to working with other departments to try to save the aquarium.

Ms Ni Chuilin, however, said Exploris is a council-run facility and funding it would give a commitment to other facilities claiming regional importance.

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