Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Opening the door for significant job creation and private sector investment at Maze/Long Kesh

A spokesperson for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister said: 

“The Peace building and Conflict Resolution Centre (PbCRC) along with the investment by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society is the first step in opening the door for significant job creation and private sector investment at the Maze/Long Kesh site that has been assessed as 5,000 jobs and £300million investment. It is projected that the PbCRC could support 70 additional jobs and generate approximately £1million per annum from visitor income and employment.

"It is best practice for the Department  to try and project what additional support may be required however it is the Ministers intention that the centre will be fully sustainable when fully operational however this will require initial investment.

"The business case prepared in 2010, anticipated the Centre generating income after its start up period. Significant work is underway to develop the programme and income generating aspects of the Centre.

"The PBCRC's two main income streams will be:

·   local and international organisations paying for the use of facilities to deliver local and international peace-building programmes, and the provision of conferences, and
·  visitor numbers expected at the PBCRC.

"The level of departmental funding for the start up period is fully justified by the contribution the Centre will make and the services it will deliver both locally and internationally. 

"The capital build will be fully funded by EU Peace III funding and possibly with additional Heritage Lottery funding.”

Saturday, 12 January 2013

O’Dowd congratulates local winners at BT Young Scientist and TechnologyExhibition

Education Minister John O’Dowd has congratulated local young people who scooped top awards at this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Oakgrove Integrated College, Derry won the University of Ulster Special Award, given to the best project from the north, for their examination of how to develop methods to harvest seeds from crops for replanting by farmers in developing countries. Oakgrove were also awarded the prize sponsored by MATRIX, the NI Science Industry Panel, for the best school from the north of Ireland entering the event.

There was further success for local schools in the some of the specialist and individual categories which saw pupils from Rathmore Grammar School, Belfast and St Mary’s College, Derry receiving awards for their projects.

In addition, Sean Donnelly a teacher at St Louis Grammar School in Kilkeel received a prestigious Educator of Excellence award for his work.

Congratulating the participants, the Minister said: “These young people can be hugely proud of their achievements. The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition represents the culmination of months of hard work and attendance at the event is reward in itself – but it is also a hotly contested competition across many categories and with 550 projects in the finals, to win any award category is a fantastic achievement.

“I spent an illuminating and inspiring afternoon at the exhibition during which I was greatly impressed by not only the standard of project entries, but also the enthusiasm, energy and diligence of the young people. Such passion is a tribute to the teachers who have invested so much in encouraging and helping the students progress their projects, as well as to the young people themselves who clearly enjoy the whole experience.

“It is this kind of real excitement about STEM subjects that will help the Executive deliver its long term goals of boosting the local economy on the global stage by creating an innovative, knowledge-based workforce.”

The Minister continued: “As well as congratulating all the northern participants I would also like to commend Kinsale Community College, Cork on winning the overall prize for their project on the effects of Diazotroph bacteria on plant germination”

“Once again the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition has proved a great success and I reiterate my congratulations to all who took part and to BT for delivering an excellent event.”

For more information on the event, visit