Welcome news of Marine hotel re-opening

3 06 2012


SDLP Ballycastle Cllr Dónal Cunningham has welcomed news that the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle has been now been sold and is due to open in the summer.
Cllr Cunningham said: “It has been very frustrating that this issue has been allowed to drift to this stage, but thankfully we now seem to have a resolution. The Marine Hotel and Country Club has already been closed for over nineteen months.
“Ballycastle has a lot to offer visitors with its wealth of history, and the natural beauty in and around the town as well the Glens, Rathlin and the Causeway. As a seaside town, Ballycastle has excellent static caravan parks and bed and breakfast establishments but, it really needs quality hotel accommodation.
“The local economy needs people to stay over in the town, to shop in our local shops, eat in our restaurants and to drink in our pubs and clubs.
“There is a market for increased stay-over provision within the town for both visitors and business people.”





John Dallat’s contribution to “Ballycastle Hotel” Assembly debate

17 03 2012

Members may wonder why somebody from County Derry is taking part in this adjournment debate, but I remind them that Ballycastle is synonymous with the name Dallat. My eldest son was very fortunate to meet a Ballycastle girl, and he lives there. As grandparents, we look forward to visiting Ballycastle on a Sunday, and we have a closer-range experience of the town’s uniqueness.
One thing that has always struck me about Ballycastle, having represented Coleraine for over 30 years where tourism is a big thing, is the absence of an hotel. Having listened to the debate this evening, I will not get drawn into the quagmire of politics. We have been very critical of the media because of its negativity to the Assembly, but, my goodness, having heard some of the statements this evening, we do not need the media.
Of course, we welcome the proposed 120-bed hotel development at Whitepark. My party was very much involved in the creation of the Marine Hotel. I do not know the circumstances of why it is not functioning, but that is a matter of regret. Certainly, the SDLP was involved in promoting tourism in Ballycastle and elsewhere when it was fashionable for some to blow up hotels, but that is in the past.
We had some references to guest houses and so on, and they are, of course, the backbone. However, let us face it: any town of any significance needs a hotel for conferences and other activities. We heard that the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle was used by the Orange Order, the Young Farmers’ Club and the GAA and for funeral dinners, and I have been to funeral dinners there. However, I know from my involvement in Coleraine that a million other things can happen in a hotel.
My colleague Councillor Dónal Cunningham told me in an e-mail just this morning that the local economy needs people to stay overnight. That was the main problem we had in the Causeway in Coleraine as well: creating the incentive for people to spend bed nights in the hotel. So, there is no need to apologize for asking the Tourist Board, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment — I am delighted that the Minister is here — Invest Northern Ireland and any other relevant organisation to promote and help with the creation of the bed nights that are badly needed in Ballycastle, which, of course, is the gateway to the glens of Antrim.
There has been a lot of hype about the Irish Open coming here. I spent yesterday in Portrush and Portstewart with the Minister, who was doing her utmost to promote the area in order to ensure that that opportunity is not missed. There are several other new items on the tourist agenda this year such as the Titanic project, as well as the Milk Cup and the North West 200, the benefits of which spin out into Ballycastle and the surrounding areas. I know from experience that the North West 200 brings people back time and time again. Even during the worst of the Troubles, relationships were formed between people from here and people from England, Scotland and other places. So it is a serious business.
As I say, my heart is in the Sperrins, but I absolutely love the glens of Antrim. I will finish up by entertaining you with a little poem, ‘The Nine Glens of Antrim’:
“There are nine Glens in Antrim, Nine great glens in all; Glenarm is the first one And near Cushendall There’s lovely Glenariff, Glenaan and Glendun And nestling between them Glenballyemon, Glencorp and Glenshesk Come on, don’t be lazy There’s only Glencloy and the last one, Glentaisie.”
My colleagues from North Antrim, for goodness sake, put your full weight behind the issue, back it 100% and make it a success.





Period of reduced rates may progress sale of hotel

11 03 2012


SDLP Ballycastle Cllr Dónal Cunningham has said that Moyle District Council should consider a period of reduced rates if this could progress the sale of the Marine Hotel and Country Club leisure facility in Ballycastle.
He said: “The Marine Hotel has been closed since December 2010 and was only brought to the position of “ready for sale” after a lengthy and complicated period of administration. We have been without a hotel for the entire calendar year of 2011 and desperately need to see a hotel provider before the Easter and summer periods of 2012 pass us by as well”.

“Our local economy needs people to stay over in the town, to shop in our local shops, eat in our restaurants and to drink in our pubs and clubs. The loss of the hotel has dented the confidence of the entire community and its continued closure sends the wrong message to potential visitors and investors”
“Our community needs action to be taken to develop this hotel as early as possible, if a reduction in rates helps to progress this –so be it.”





Cunningham welcomes approval of Ballycastle hotel plans

24 01 2012


SDLP Moyle District Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed news that plans have been approved for a 120-bedroom hotel
He said: “Ballycastle has been without a hotel for almost a year and a half, so this is excellent news.

“There is also hope that a buyer can be found for the vacant Marine Hotel.”,

“Moyle District Council is urging Invest NI and the relevant tourist agencies to support this project.

“Ballycastle has not had its fair share of Invest NI investment, so this project is their chance to show commitment to the area.

“Hopefully this hotel will become a catalyst in the redevelopment of Ballycastle, as the proposed hotel could create 70 full time and 35 part time jobs, all of which are greatly needed.”

“Our local economy is in great need of boosting tourism in the area and this is a positive step forward in that regard.

“So now, with this latest development, we can begin to give a clear signal to business leaders, developers and tourists that Ballycastle is open for business and wants to encourage trade and tourism.”





Without a hotel Ballycastle will lose out

7 01 2012


Following the excellent news that the 2012 Irish Open Golf is to be hosted in Portrush, SDLP Moyle Councillor Dónal Cunningham fears that lack of hotel provision in Ballycastle will see the town miss out on the knock on effects of what will be a world class event on our doorstep.
He said: “Our local town economy is likely to miss out on the significant potential tourism spend which this event will attract.
“I would restate my recommendation made last year that an all-party working group made up of the town councillors meet with the relevant government departments and the Tourist Board to discuss the hotel issue and possible solutions to it.
“Ballycastle has a lot to offer visitors with its wealth of history, the natural beauty in and around the town as well as its proximity to the Glens, Rathlin and the Causeway.
“As a seaside town, Ballycastle has excellent static caravan parks and bed and breakfast establishments but, lacks quality hotel accommodation.
“The local economy needs people to stay over in the town, to shop in our local shops, eat in our restaurants and to drink in our pubs and clubs. A boost in the town’s hotel provision would doubtless have a positive economic effect





Ballycastle needs a hotel

16 11 2011

SDLP Ballycastle Cllr Dónal Cunningham has welcomed news that the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle has been placed on the market and has expressed hope that a new owner can be found quickly.

Cllr Cunningham said: “It has been very frustrating that this issue has been allowed to drift to this stage. The Marine Hotel and Country Club has already been closed for over eleven months and as a result Ballycastle was without any hotel provider for the summer of 2011.

“I have called on Moyle District Council’s economic development department to place the need for hotel provision and support for any new hotel business for Ballycastle high on their agenda. I equally support the plans to develop the 100 room hotel on the outskirts of the town.

“Ballycastle has a lot to offer visitors with its wealth of history, the natural beauty in and around the town as well the Glens, Rathlin and the Causeway. As a seaside town, Ballycastle has excellent static caravan parks and bed and breakfast establishments but, it really needs quality hotel accommodation.

“The local economy needs people to stay over in the town, to shop in our local shops, eat in our restaurants and to drink in our pubs and clubs.

“There is a market for increased stay-over provision within the town for both visitors and business people. It is vital that we do everything we can to support the development of the hotel industry within our town.”





Marine Hotel – Delays hitting the community

14 08 2011

BALLYCASTLE SDLP councillor Dónal Cunningham has said that delays by the administrator of the Marine Hotel in getting the property “ready for sale” are frustrating the local economy and stifling the promotion of tourism.

  “The Marine Hotel was closed in December 2010 and placed into administration later. Surely within that time the bank and administrators should have been in a position to progress all the required procedures and documentation in order to bring the property to a position where it is “ready for sale”.

“We should not have a situation where the work of the council and other agencies to promote tourism is ‘sterilised’ because of the lack of progress by the Hotel’s administrators. How do we market Ballycastle as a place to visit and stay when we are without the facility to accommodate our potential visitors?

“Tourism is key to the Ballycastle economy and we cannot afford to be without the full time and part time jobs which the Hotel facility provides.

“On top of that the loss of the Hotel’s leisure facilities and in particular it’s swimming pool has deprived the community of a much needed resource. Many people used the leisure facilities on a daily basis and have commented to me on the noticeable effect the closure has had on their health and wellbeing.”

Councillor Cunningham has asked Moyle Council to apply whatever pressure it can to progress the issue.

He added: “The Hotel’s administrators need to act in the interests of the local community – we should not be prepared to tolerate any further delays.”