North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jnr has paid tribute to the businessman Alistair Hanna, who died at the weekend.
The Belfast-born businessman, who had been ill with cancer for some years, was behind the controversial £100 million Bushmills Dunes golf resort near the Giant’s Causeway, a scheme which Mr Paisley has vigorously supported.
The DUP MP said: “I was very sad to learn of the death of my friend Dr Alistair Hanna. He led the way on the proposals of the Causeway golf course project and after tenacious battles with planning authorities it became a reality. “
Mr Paisley said that the businessman, who spent four decades working in America, “never forgot his roots” and that he hoped the golf course would be “a fitting tribute” to him.
He added: “Alistair was a devout Christian and became one of the leading lights in the Alpha project movement. He helped take the Gospel to millions of people in Latin America.”
SDLP MLA Alex Attwood, who when he was Stormont’s environment minister gave planning permission for the golf course, said: “I met Dr Hanna and his wife only once, two years ago at the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.
“His commitment to Northern Ireland, to its people and potential, and to the Bushmills Dunes project, was clear, strong and conveyed in a gentle and - as his wife has said - warm manner.”