An Ulster Unionist has a sizeable feather in his cap after being heaped with praise by a Sinn Fein Minister for his advocacy of pigeon clubs.
North Antrim Assemblyman Robin Swann received the verbal accolade from the Sports Minister during Stormont Question Time in the Chamber.
Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said her Department and Sport NI have had a number of meetings with representatives of the NI pigeon association and Robin Swann MLA to explore options regarding funding, the recognition of pigeon racing as a sport, charitable status, rates relief and other avenues of support that may be available.
Singling out Mr Swann for particular praise, the Minister added: “The process to formally recognise an activity as a sport is the responsibility of the four sports councils. At present, Sport NI and the sports councils in England, Scotland and Wales do not recognise pigeon racing as a sport.
“Any application to recognise the activity as a sport would have to be agreed. In addition to meeting representatives of the NI pigeon association, my officials met the Charity Commission to explore the implications for pigeon clubs seeking charitable status and subsequently provided advice and guidance to the association.”