A new £70m gap could be opening up in the Stormont Executive’s cash coffers over the planned sell-off of former military sites, MLAs have been warned.
For the valuation of four sites expected to go up for sale across Northern Ireland has plummeted from £100m to between £30m-£40m, senior officials calculate. A senior Department of Justice official told a Stormont committee the value of the sites appeared to have fallen “dramatically”.
Ulster Unionist MLA David McNarry, who raised the issue, said: “It is a massive gap but I believe when these sites do go on sale there will be buyers and they should be sold off as soon as possible.
“If someone can tell me that they are coming to come back to their original value over the next five years, I will listen, but the longer we hold onto them the more they will depreciate.” Negotiations over the sites are on-going between the First and Deputy First Ministers’ office, the MoD, Treasury and Cabinet Office.
It is not known when the final go-ahead for the sales will be given.
The four sites in question are Lisanelly Barracks and St Lucia Barracks in Omagh — where a major education project has been mooted — St Patrick’s Barracks in Ballymena and Shackleton Barracks in Ballykelly.