The SDLP’s South Down candidate Cllr Michael Savage has called for a boost for the tourism and hospitality sector of Northern Ireland in the face of Brexit.
Mr Savage said: “I am delighted to be here in Newcastle today with my colleague Councillor Laura Devlin. When we were growing up in the Spa area, day trips to Newcastle were always something my family and I enjoyed. Being able to avail of all the town had to offer us as day trippers was never lost on us.
“As the town has expanded and its profile has grown, it’s always heartening to know that some things stay the same. It still caters for day trippers. Whether that be through the many fantastic eateries and coffee shops, the pubs, numerous amusement arcades, hotels and B&B’s. Tourism is in the lifeblood of Newcastle. Newcastle is the jewel in the tourism crown of South Down.
“But we can do more. The next MP for South Down is going to have to step up to the mark to champion tourism and hospitality at Westminster.
“With the Northern Ireland Assembly still not sitting the next MP for South Down is going to have to bring the fight to the UK for a reduction VAT rate for the tourism sector. That MP will only get results if they are making the case for this to ministers across the benches of the House of Commons.
“The other key issue relating to Northern Ireland’s tourism sector that is crucial to me is that of liquor licensing laws. These are laws that need to be reviewed. If we are facing the possibility of direct rule then it is imperative that the next MP be in the chamber and fighting the case.”
Mr Savage added: “They are going to have to fight the case not just for our tourism sector but also for local businesses – to ensure that their needs are best served. The MP’s for Northern Ireland voice and votes are going to be crucial and it is essential that one of those MPs on the green benches be from South Down.
“I want to be that voice. Some of my fondest memories are of summer days spent in Newcastle. That’s an experience I want future generations to be able to enjoy as much as possible across all of South Down.”