ALLIANCE Assembly Spokesperson on Culture, Arts and Leisure, Kieran McCarthy MLA (Strangford), has supported calls for the Northern Ireland Events Company to be properly funded.
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has proposed that funding for the NIEC be cut from the current £2.4 million in 2003/04 to £1.8m, with further decreases to £600,000 by 2007/08.
Alderman McCarthy, who is a former member of the Assembly Committee on Culture, Arts and Leisure, said:
“Alliance supports the aims of the NI Events Company, which has helped to build a more positive, outgoing, progressive image of Northern Ireland since it was formed a few years ago.
“It has put us on the map when it comes to international events and has helped boost visitor numbers and tourism, and its work has meant significant economic benefits for Northern Ireland.
“The NI Events Company was the first of its kind in the UK or Ireland, and now others are following its example.
“The company would not be viable in a very few years if funding were cut as the Minister proposes, and another great opportunity to market Northern Ireland Plc on the international stage would be lost.
“I will be writing to Minister Angela Smith to request that the level of funding is not reduced, as it would be a mistake to impose cuts in the way her Department has proposed.”