Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has said his party will continue to pursue options for Northern Ireland hosting the Commonwealth Youth Games after officials said uncertainty surrounding it was “devastating”.
Mr Lyttle was speaking after Robert McVeigh, chair of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council, said the decision was now due to happen this summer. A handover ceremony for the proposed games in 2021 was cancelled last summer due to a delay in funding for the games being agreed, thanks to the collapse of the Executive.
“The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council is ready to deliver a superb games, which would showcase this region on a global scale, while inspiring a generation of young athletes and volunteers,” said Mr Lyttle.
“DUP Minister for Economy Simon Hamilton MLA failed to publish the business case for the Commonwealth Youth Games prior to the collapse of the Executive and has serious questions to answer. Despite much effort from several quarters, there now appears to be limited scope for the release of funding in the absence of an Executive Minister to issue a direction.
“Efforts continue to be made to explore whether funding can be achieved, for example in conjunction with the UK’s scheduled hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2022. Alliance will continue to raise the matter with the Northern Ireland Office and the Civil Service to seek a positive outcome for the many young athletes and the wider social and economic benefits the hosting of this event would bring to Northern Ireland.”