Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Titanic project 'to benefit all'

An artist's impression of the city's new landmark
An artist's impression of the city's new landmark

All of Northern Ireland will benefit from a Titanic themed tourist project, the first minister has said.

Plans for a five-storey building are being backed by the executive, which will give more than 40m towards the 97m project.

Peter Robinson said the attraction would boost the local economy.

"It is one of the key projects we are looking for, for our tourist industry... with massive potential for the construction industry," he said.

"This is the very kind of project we need to assist in these difficult financial times."

However, there has been concern that the Titanic Quarter has not delivered as much for the east Belfast area as was hoped.

PUP assembly member Dawn Purvis said the new investment was "fantastic news".

However, she said that for the people in the Ballymacarrett ward beside the project - an area of urban deprivation - there had so far been little benefit.


"It's not just about offering jobs - it's about building the capacity and skills of the people in order to take up those opportunities," she said.

Work on the 'Titanic signature project' is to start in January and Economy Minister Arlene Foster said 600 jobs would be created during its construction.

She said it was "absolutely vital" that the building would open to the public ahead of the centenary of the boat's sinking in April 2012.

It is expected to attract 400,000 visitors a year.

The rest of the 53m funding will come from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Belfast City Council and private developers.

The project was hit by a big setback last year when the proposal failed to win lottery funding.

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