Campaigners aiming to save Ulster’s only aquarium have said they believe MLAs gave them a sympathetic ear at a briefing yesterday.
Around a dozen members of the Assembly’s Enterprise, Trade and Investment committee visited Portaferry’s Exploris facility to hear evidence from different groups, including those pressing for it to remain open.
Elaine Roddy, a Portaferry resident and member of Friends of Exploris, said she left yesterday’s meeting feeling “more hopeful”.
The group is aiming to get some interim funding from the Executive to maintain the aquarium while a long-term plan is worked out.
While there were some “pointed questions” from MLAs, Mrs Roddy said: “The impression I got was that they were sympathetic to the case to keep Exploris open.”
SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone, the chairman of the committee, said after the meeting: “From my own personal point of view, I’d want to do anything I possibly could to help it.”
He said the committee will look at a course of action when it meets today, and then draft a letter to the enterprise minister.
Yesterday’s visit comes in the wake of a failed takeover of the loss-making aquarium, which has led the council to announce its possible closure.