£900k army base bill ‘ridiculous’ - Colr

The Executive has spent over £900,000 on maintenance, security and other costs related to former Ballykelly army base since October 2011.

The staggering cost was revealed in a written question from East Derry MLA Gregory Campbell to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister asking them to detail the maintenance; security; utilities; and other costs in relation to the former Ballykelly Army Base from 7 October 2011 to 31 March 2013.

The total cost comes in at £943, 223.64 from 2001 to 2013.

Broken down the figure shows maintenance costs for the period are £310,756.10. For the same period the bill was £139,778.14 for security. Utilities for the same period cost £214,191.42. Other costs totalled £13, 509.44 for the same period.

The former army base will be the new home of the department of Agriculture headquarters where some 800 jobs are to be relocated. Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill told the ‘Journal’ that move is on track. Limavady Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey said he was shocked at the figures, which he branded ‘ridiculous’.

“I can’t understand how those costs can be justified and it’s no wonder people are starting to ask questions of the Assembly when you hear this at a time when there are so many cuts to our health service and in the community in general.

“Would that money not be better spent helping small businesses?

“I’d certainly question how the process has been tendered and what exactly is involved, because it’s ridiculous.”