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Allister Presses Minister on Milk Cup Funding

13 June 2011

Statement by North Antrim MLA Jim Allister:

“A great funding wrong has been done to the NI Milk Cup, threatening its viability. I find the Tourist Board's approach incomprehensible.  

“The Milk Cup has been held annually for the past 28 years yet in the NITB’s “Event Viability and Management Experience” category the Milk Cup scored 29 out of 65. That fact alone is sufficient to demonstrate just how preposterous the Tourist Board’s decision is.

“But it gets worse. The Milk Cup scored 10 out of a possible 20 when it came to “Brand Northern Ireland”! Personally I would be hard pressed to think of another event which does more to promote Northern Ireland as a brand. Here is an event which has been held in our Province annually for the best part of three decades. It is a major youth sporting event which generates considerable interest overseas by bringing young sports people to Northern Ireland and major TV stations. Manchester United TV (MUTV) for example covers the tournament on a daily basis and at the end of the week produces a one hour documentary shown on their satellite station which, I understand, is the football club channel with the largest number of subscribers worldwide.

"The Milk Cup has put Northern Ireland on the junior footballing world map, yet NITB fails it as a brand!

“During questions to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment today I pressed Mrs Foster on the issue as she has ministerial responsibility for tourism. I was disappointed that she had no good news for the event organisers and that there appeared to be a ministerial unwillingness to challenge NITB. As Minister for tourism she should be more proactive in seeking to reverse the wrong done.

"I will continue to lobby on this issue at Stormont and have tabled an adjournment debate on the matter.”

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