THE Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister, Cáral Ní Chuilín, has spent a snowy day in South Down visiting sports and cultural groups.
Speaking after the visit the Minister said: “I was pleased I was able to take the opportunity to spend the whole day in Down. As Minister for Culture, Arts
and Leisure I meet many people from different walks of life, with different interests and aspirations.
“One thing many share is a passion and desire to help develop and enhance their local communities. Be they race tracks, arts venues or sports centres they are all important venues in their local communities. They are places where people can come together to share their interests and passions. To exchange ideas, nurture talent and most of all enjoy themselves.
“The Bishop Court racing circuit is one of three dedicated motorsport racing short circuits. I commend the owners and operators of the circuit who over the last number of years have been working hard to upgrade the facilities. This has transformed it into one of the widest and best surfaced tracks. Areas of the venue previously only used for rallying now provide alternative circuit options for karting and motor bike racing.
“Amateur boxing has been one of our major success stories with the north punching well above its weight. I am glad to be able to visit the Mourne All Blacks Boxing Club which comprises of both female and male boxers. The Boxing Investment Programme is now out for consultation and I pleased to hear the club have already submitted an expression of interest.
“The Down Arts Centre is a credit to the staff and local community. The range of exhibitions, performances, classes and workshops help to offer everyone the opportunity to come along and experience the arts.
“The Gaelic Athletic Association is a focal point in many communities. Clubs are often staffed and supported by volunteers who help ensure the promotion of amateur sports and cultural association. Ballymartin GAC have suffered a number of sectarian attacks and vandalism to their facilities. I would encourage everyone to work together to ensure that this is brought to an end. We must all ensure our children, and everyone, is able to play and enjoy sport in safety.
“Rostrevor GAA and St Bronagh’s GAC have also played an important part in their local community for over 100 years. I am sure this is set to continue for many years to come.”