[Sinn Fein]

26th June 2002

Department of Social Development Officials quizzed over Dairy Farm

Deputy Chairperson of the 6 County Assembly Public Accounts Committee, West Belfast MLA Sue Ramsey has questioned in depth the Chief Accounting Officer of the Department of Social Development on the Dairy Farm Scheme in West Belfast.

Ms Ramsey said:

``I am concerned that the transfer of the Dairy Farm land to Glenwood Enterprise Ltd was done free of charge. In effect the Department of Social Development has given away a potentially valuable public asset.

``The Department countered that Glenwood could not change the use of the freehold without `community approval' and that safeguards where in place.

``However, I have yet to be convinced that the agreements in place would prevent Glenwood from the selling the freehold and making a very significant profit. Which, after 2003, there would be no claw back mechanism on.

``This would not necessarily be a benefit to the community and I would not look favourably on the giving away of public assets for nothing that then make big profits for a private company.

``Clearly the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. As a representative of this community, I will do all in my power to ensure that the there will be no loss to the taxpayer and more specifically to the people of West Belfast.''

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