Overend welcomes Training College assurances

ULSTER Unionist Assembly Member for Mid-Ulster, Sandra Overend, has welcomed assurances from the Justice Minister that construction work on the Desertcreat Training College is due to begin in October this year.

During Question Time to the Justice Minister last Tuesday, Sandra was keen to ensure that there would be no further delays in the long-awaited opening of the police, prison and fire officer training college in Mid-Ulster.

“It is positive news for the Mid-Ulster constituency that construction on this important and modern facility is finally close to commencement. It will raise the profile of Mid-Ulster and serve as a boost to security and safety in Northern Ireland,” she said.

However, it is essential that the Minister ensures that the proposed start date for construction is adhered to, and there are no further delays to the project, she added.

“I share the concerns held by many of my constituents, and indeed a Justice Committee official, that ‘professional incompetence’ by the design team has led to costs of the project increasing by over a third of the original figures, and indeed the fact that the facility was originally meant to be complete in 2008,” she continued.

“Having asked the Minister what measures he has put in place to ensure no more ‘incompetence’ occurs, he has advised me that there have been staff replacements among those providing professional advice, and that there is a much more capable team in place.”

The MLA said she trusted that the building and opening of this major facility will run smoothly and Mid-Ulster will soon host an excellent training facility that will benefit the entire Province.