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Tall ships set sail for Belfast

By Linda McKee

Funding of £1m will go towards berthing facilities at Belfast’s docks thanks to the hosting of the Tall Ships this summer.

A major programme of events was launched at Belfast Harbour Commissioner’s Office yesterday to mark the finale of the Atlantic Tall Ship Challenge 2009.

Tourism minister Arlene Foster said the Belfast Maritime Festival 2009, featuring the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge, would focus the international spotlight on Northern Ireland this summer.

“This event will leave behind a legacy worth £1m towards berthing facilities at Queen’s Quay, Thompson Dock and Abercorn Basin,” she said.

“The Northern Ireland Tourist Board, through its capital grant programme, will contribute £500,000 towards this project which will help develop sailing and tourism here as well as provide infrastructure improvements to support Belfast in attracting other major events in the future.”

Sports Minister Gregory Campbell said: “I am pleased that my department has been able to work in partnership with Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and various private sector partners to make this event a reality,” he said.

Commenting on her department’s contributions towards providing the infrastructure for the Tall Ships in Laganside, the Minister for Social Development Margaret Ritchie said: “Belfast’s waterfront has been transformed in recent years and will provide a fitting backdrop to the colour and spectacle of the Tall Ships.”

Ms Ritchie added: “The hosting of this event is another positive indicator of Belfast’s place in the world.”

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