Finance Minister at north coast hotel

Finance Minister Conor Murphy visited a hotel business in Ballycastle to hear how the support from Covid funding schemes and rates relief is helping them through the pandemic.

Businesses within Causeway Coast and Glens Council have benefitted from over £40.1 million of support from a range of grant schemes, with more than 2,700 grant applications paid, sustaining a range of businesses adversely impacted during the pandemic and supporting them as they recover and grow. In addition, the rates holiday, which was extended for a further 12 months, is providing over £28 million of vital support to businesses in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area.

The Minister began his day by visiting the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle, taking a tour of the seafront hotel and meeting staff who have returned to work after being on furlough during the pandemic.

Minister Murphy said: “Hospitality has been one of the hardest hit sectors, effectively shutting down during the pandemic. I welcomed the opportunity to meet with the team at the Marine Hotel and to hear from them how vital the financial assistance received from Executive grants schemes has been during the pandemic. The hotel has benefitted from my Department’s Localised Restrictions Support Scheme and will also continue to benefit from the rates holiday which I have extended until the end of March 2022. It was great to see the buzz around the hotel as they welcome guests back through their doors.”

Finance Minister Conor Murphy at the Marine Hotel, Ballycastle, with hotel co-owner Claire Hunter

The Minister then boarded the Rathlin Ferry to visit Rathlin Island where he met the Rathlin Development Community Association to hear more about the lighthouse development project.

Minister Murphy continued: “I really welcome the opportunity to visit Rathlin Island; an area of outstanding natural beauty and a fantastic tourism asset. I’m delighted my Department’s Innovation Lab has been able to support the Rathlin Development Community Association as they explore options for the development of the East Lighthouse.”