McGlone criticises First Minister for tourism snub

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SDLP Economy Spokesperson and Chair of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, Patsy McGlone has criticised the First Minister for snubbing an iconic Tourism Ireland Global Greening event in Rio and has called on him to put the needs of our local tourism industry ahead of the interests of the DUP.

Commenting on reports that the First Minister has chosen to depart Rio early, leaving the Deputy First Minster behind to represent our local tourism sector at the greening of Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro on St Patrick’s Day, Mr McGlone said:

“Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is set to go green for the first time ever on St Patrick’s Day, joining a host of other major landmarks and iconic sites around the world.

“This is part of a Tourism Ireland initiative to promote our island on the world stage as the place to visit.

“Tourism is highlighted as a key growth industry and a priority sector by the Executive. Yet what does our First Minister do – flees and snubs this unique and iconic event to boost Ireland, north and south, as a prime tourism destination.

“While details of this visit to South America by the First and Deputy First Minister continue to be kept from the public, what we do know is that the First Minister has chosen not to support this event in Rio. He has chosen not to support our tourism sector at a time when it needs support and positive promotion to recover the consequences of the image the lunatic flag protestors and their supporters sent around the world.

“Questions have to be asked of the First Minister. It is the public, not the DUP, who are picking up the tab for his trip to South America. Why is he putting party interest ahead of his duty as First Minister, snubbing an iconic Tourism Ireland event and letting our tourism industry down? Peter Robinson needs to start being a First Minister who works for all of the North”.