Richard Newell, HM Coastguard Watch Commander said, “We have had several meetings with the First Minister over the consultation issue. He has also visited our base in Bangor along with the Deputy First Minister and many other MLA’s and MP’s. The level of support we have had has been tremendous. We are very grateful for this support and for everyone who has lobbied on our behalf.”
After the meeting, the First Minister enjoyed a guided tour of the St Patrick exhibition in the world’s only dedicated heritage centre to Ireland’s national saint. He was very much impressed and during the visit to the iMax show on the big screen, he even heard his old party coleague Dr Ian Paisley along with other religious leaders talking about the life of St Patrick and the early Celtic Church. The iMax is a large screen film covering the St Patrick Country, where St Patrick travelled, and the heritage of old Celtic churches and beautiful ancient landscapes.
Dr Tim Campbell, St Patrick Centre Director, said, “We were delighted to welcome the First Minister to the Centre. This is a recognition of the on-going work that we do to encourage tourists and visitors to the Centre from all over the world to Northern Ireland.
“His visit also endorses the reconciliation programme we have at the Centre bringing people of all persuasions together. We welcome the Stormont representation from the DUP. The changing world of St Patrick is for all the people.”
First Minister Addesses Local Pupils At Down High School
See link for full story on the school visit and his keynote speech from a previous article.
Visit to Newcastle
After the visit to Downpatrick, the First Minister then headed down to Newcastle to see first hand the new promenade after its recent reconstruction. He was greeted to Newcastle by Down District Council Chairman Councillor Eamon O’Neill, who said, “I am very pleased to welcome our First Minister to the District to witness first hand the success of the Newcastle street scheme and the promenade.
“This town development has led to the regeneration of Newcastle and of tourism, and the Council have further regeneration plans to bring forward. The tourist industry provides a major boost for local jobs and generates revenue through the year. We need to build on this.
“I felt that the First Minister was impressed with the works that he saw, and I did mention that my two party colleagues Margaret Ritchie and Alex Attwood have as DSD Ministers through their offices made a huge contribution making the funding available to achieve this.”
They enjoyed a walk along the promenade in bright April sunshine and posed for a few photographs for the press.
The First Minister then drove on and enjoyed dinner with a media group at the Millbrook Lodge Hotel in Ballynahinch before meeting party supporters at a launch of the local government election candidates for the district.