Green Party to support motion to save Exploris

The Green Party is backing an Assembly motion calling for the Executive to step in and save Portaferry-based aquarium Exploris.

North Down Green MLA Steven Agnew said: “Exploris should be financially supported by the Executive as its contribution to maintaining precious local biodiversity cannot be solely calculated in financial terms.

“It’s positive impact on the local economic of the area is also significant as it is an attraction to visitors and tourists who visit the centre and then subsequently spend money in other local businesses.

“Therefore, there are quite a number of jobs beyond those of the staff employed in Exploris dependent on the continued survival of the centre.

“Exploris has had a key role in rescuing and nursing injured seals and returning them to their natural habitat when they have recovered.

“It has provided a great showcase for the marine life of Strangford Lough for generations of local children and provided a window on the rich marine diversity present under the water.

“For many people this is the only opportunity they have to see and interact with creatures normally hidden from view.

“It is only through such engagement and recognition people can value the biodiversity of this unique and important marine environment and Exploris plays a key role in that process.

“With the development of tidal energy in the Lough, Exploris will also have a forward role to play informing visitors of the future of renewable energy generation which has global implications.

“The very active citizen engagement campaign to save the facility proves many people in Northern Ireland want to see Exploris retained and indeed developed

“Tens of thousands of people have given their online support to the Save Exploris campaign with the E-petition attracting thousands of signatures.

“Politicians must now sit up and take note and work together to find the money to save this important asset to Northern Ireland.”

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