There was outrage this week after it was reported the Northern Ireland Office was to take legal action to evict Praxis Care from its Hillsborough Castle ‘Secret Garden’.
The NIO gave over the castle and its grounds to Historic Royal Palaces for development as a tourist attraction, having previously served Praxis notice to quit, later rejecting the charity’s claims for compensation in respect of the £400,000 it invested in the facility, where it provides placements for 16 young people with learning difficulties.
Amid local protests there arose hopes of a possible accommodation and even now the charity is on record maintaining its hopes that, despite what it calls the NIO’s refusal to engage with it, a resolution can be found “to enable Praxis Care to have a continued presence at the Secret Garden”.
Hillsborough Councillor Alexander Redpath believes the NIO is adopting a “very high-handed and unnecessary” approach. “The priority,” he said, “has to be the needs of the 16 service-users with learning difficulties.” At time of going to Press the NIO had failed to respond to a request for comment.