New football tournament target - Larne, Ballymena and Carrick v Scottish clubs

A  football tournament involving Mid and East Antrim’s three main clubs and Scottish counterparts is among proposals for developing east-west relations with Dumfries and Galloway.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 10:44 am

The two councils have been working together with ferry companies to progress a number of common interests, including ports and infrastructure, such as the A75/77 routes in Scotland.

Speaking at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on Monday evening, Larne Lough Councillor Gregg McKeen told members that developing links through football was suggested at last month’s meeting of the councils’ North Channel Partnership.

Mid and East Antrim chief executive Anne Donaghy gave the partnership an update on some of the recent initiatives undertaken by the local authority which include a five-day Mid and East Antrim itinerary with P&O Ferries.

A Scottish council delegation from Dumfries and Galloway welcomed to Mid and East Antrim in August 2019

The potential for the development of agri-food tourism has also been identified in both council areas.

It was further reported at the meeting that Dumfries and Galloway’s relationship with Mid and East Antrim was highlighted as part of the district’s ‘Greenport’ bidding process for the port of Cairnryan.

Both councils have agreed that the North Channel Partnership will support and strengthen both council’s ‘Greenport/Freeport’ bids.

Both councils are bidding for this status which means that usual customs rules do not apply. Imports can enter with simplified customs documentation and without paying tariffs.

Larne Lough Alliance Cllr Danny Donnelly said: “The bid for the development of a Freeport in Dumfries and Galloway and Mid and East Antrim complement each other’s strengths and each other’s bids.

Commenting on the reopening of hospitality following an easing of Covid restrictions, Cllr Donnelly added: “There is an expectation of a busy season on both sides of the partnership.

“Football was highlighted as something we could work on together in the form of a tournament. I think this is a great idea.”

He suggested that working on a food and drink programme could be an attractive tourism offering.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

Click here to read: Scottish council urged to learn from Larne border control post ‘experience’

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