Anna Lo MLA said: “Alex Attwood has admitted defeat over trying to introduce a national park. When he said the national park proposal was going into a taking stock phase last month, I said that he had given up and this statement proves it.
“He went about this in the wrong way. From the first day he put all his eggs in one basket and just looked at the Mournes and did not properly consult local people as to what a national park would mean.
“What Alex should have done is to have looked at all possible locations and talked with as many people and groups as possible. Instead of having a top down approach he should have had a bottom up approach.
“He should have looked at other possible locations such as the Glens of Antrim, the Fermanagh Lakes or the Giant’s Causeway.
“The consultation process should have given people more information and looked to design a national park that people in different locations would want and not impose one idea on one location.
“Alex should go back to the drawing board and start again.”