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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 15:11 GMT
Visitor centre pressure increases
Arlene Foster
The visitors' centre has proved a controversial issue
The Stormont environment committee has stepped up pressure for disclosure of documents pertaining to a planning application at the Giant's Causeway.

Seymour Sweeney, who has been embroiled in controversy over links with Ian Paisley Jr, wants to build a visitors' centre at the UNESCO site.

The committee has voted to ask the speaker to invoke legal powers to compel her to disclose the papers.

It met in closed session on Thursday to discuss related legal advice.

It then voted in open session on a motion to invoke session 44, by asking the speaker to seek the papers.

The motion was backed by the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists. However, there was some dissension.


Alliance had sought a rejected amendment to give the minister until March before proceeding.

The DUP also opposed the motion. Its member Peter Weir complained the committee was ignoring legal advice, which is understood to have suggested the minister could argue against disclosing the papers as her decision on the Causeway visitors' centre application from Mr Sweeney was not yet complete.

The committee was reacting to Mrs Foster's announcement in September that she was "minded" to go with the private application.

The committee has been demanding to know what advice planning officials had so far given on the application.

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