MLA ‘unhappy’ at wait for Project Kelvin evaluation report

Sinéad McLaughlin has expressed frustration over the length of time it is taking for a redacted report on Project Kelvin to be published.

By Kevin Mullan
Monday, 17th January 2022, 10:03 am
The telecommunication house at Fort George.
The telecommunication house at Fort George.

The SDLP MLA has been pressing the Department of the Economy on an evaluation report on the transatlantic telecommunications network for the past year.

A few weeks ago the Economy Minister Gordon Lyons informed the Foyle MLA that the report on the multi-million pound Project Kelvin, which includes the telecommunications house at Fort George (pictured) would be published presently.

But Mrs. McLaughlin has queried why it is taking so long.

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“I am very unhappy that it has already taken more than a year for the Project Kelvin report to be published. The redaction of confidential information should be a simple and quick process and it does not provide an excuse for failing to publish the review of Project Kelvin,” she said.

The Project Kelvin network which made landfall at Portrush and became operational in 2010 had been touted as a potentially game-changing development for the north west. The telecommunication house at Fort George is one of a number of Points of Presence (POPs) on the network.

Mrs. McLaughlin said she is keen to see what benefits have accrued to the Derry area as a result of the state-supported infrastructure development.

“Project Kelvin was promised as being transformational for Derry, providing telecommunications links with North America that would drive additional investment in the city,” she said.

The SDLP MLA said she is determined to see the review published as soon as possible in order to identify whether or not it provides evidence that the project has been a success.

“My party colleague, former Foyle MP Mark Durkan, was at forefront along with local business leaders in demanding Project Kelvin provided major benefits to Derry. So let’s see if it did.”

Back in 2009 there was a high-profile campaign in Derry to ensure that the telecommunications house was located in the city rather in the Coleraine area.