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Minister meets Chief Executive of Sport NI

Sports Minister Nelson McCausland today met with the Chief Executive of Sport NI Eamonn McCartan and Chair of Sport NI Dominic Walsh.
Friday, 3 December 2010

The Minister convened the meeting to discuss comments made by the Chief Executive regarding efforts made to attract international teams to select Northern Ireland as a training base in advance of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Speaking after the meeting Mr McCartan said: "I acknowledge that these comments were unhelpful to Northern Ireland and I regret the interview as broadcast and regret any harm these comments may have caused to the image of Northern Ireland. I have worked diligently to promote a positive image of Northern Ireland over many years and would never willingly act to the contrary.

"I affirm Sport NI's commitment to work with the Department and others to attract Olympic and Paralympic teams to Pre-Games Training Camps here in Northern Ireland. I will now progress our detailed action plan including timescales and a communication plan for taking forward the important work of attracting international teams to Northern Ireland."

The Minister said: "I look forward to continuing our constructive relationship to maximise the benefits to Northern Ireland of the 2012 Olympics. I acknowledge the good work that Sport NI and its Chief Executive do to promote Northern Ireland.

"The Northern Ireland Executive are working hard to build the image of Northern Ireland to potential international visitors and investors. The fact that we have been successful in attracting the staging of World Police and Fire Games here in 2013 is testament of that good work.

"Government entrusts its Arms Length Bodies, such as Sport NI, to act as ambassadors for Northern Ireland."

Chair of Sport NI Dominic Walsh said: "I would like to point out that Eamonn McCartan has been a very loyal servant to Northern Ireland over many years and has been very successful in promoting sport in Northern Ireland as well as on a global stage. He has been instrumental in promoting the positive image of Northern Ireland and attracting events and inward investment. The recent visit of the Boston Bruins, the biggest ice hockey team in the world, to the Odyssey Arena was one such example.

Notes to editors:

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