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Stormont row had no effect on bid for Youth Games

I want to address the inaccurate claims in the Belfast Telegraph article entitled "Bid to host Youth Games 'scuppered by deadlock at Stormont'" (News, September 14). This is simply not true.

The political situation has had no impact on Northern Ireland's bid to host the Youth Commonwealth Games.

The-then Tourism Minister, Jonathan Bell and I wrote to the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council on September 10, expressing our full support for this prestigious and historic event being brought to Northern Ireland in 2021.

Contrary to the claims in the article, which say "there should have been more official support" for the bid to host the games, the-then Tourism Minister and I have been fully supportive and instructed our officials to work with the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council in development and submission of the bid.

We advised in the letter that our officials would work with the council to the finalisation of costs and provision of funding - subject, of course, to business case approval. It is unhelpful and misleading to make claims of a "blockage and a lack of responsibility from government" when we have a track-record of delivering world-class events such as the Irish Open golf tournament and the Giro d'Italia.


Finance Minister

Belfast Telegraph