Nomadic Restoration Could Cost Taxpayers £7 Million

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 12 November 2009

Reference: PAC 04/09/10

Restoring the historic SS Nomadic could cost the taxpayer £7 million. That’s the message from the Northern Ireland Assembly Public Accounts Committee which today launched a report on the acquisition and restoration of the SS Nomadic.

The SS Nomadic, which was built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast in 1911, carried passengers to the RMS Titanic in April 1912. In January 2006, the historic vessel was purchased at auction by the Department of Social Development for €250,000.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Paul Maskey MLA, Chairperson of the Committee, said: When the Nomadic was purchased, the Department acknowledged that it was getting involved in areas in which it had very little experience.

“This inexperience was demonstrated by unforeseen costs that the Department incurred up to December 2008, including £650,000 on transportation, essential restoration for the vessel and providing financial assistance to the SS Nomadic Charitable Trust.

“The Department has told the Committee it would not fund the costs of restoration – that was a matter for the Trust who have so far secured £3.6 million towards the cost of restoration. However, over 90 per cent of this has come from public funds.

“The Trust is currently preparing a Conservation Management Plan which will set out, in much greater detail, the costs associated with completing this project.

“We genuinely hope that they are successful in delivering a value for money project, but that remains to be seen. The Committee recognises that the Trust is a voluntary organisation staffed mainly by part-time workers and enthusiasts who were keen to see progress on the ship. However, these are challenging times. Preserving our heritage is important, but not at any cost.”

ENDS

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