ADJACENT to the M1, close to the main Belfast–Dublin railway line and less than 20 minutes from Belfast, UKIP recognises the strategic importance of the Maze site.
It represents a once in a generation opportunity to deliver something remarkable, which benefits everyone in Lagan Valley and across Northern Ireland.
However, the DUP’s proposals for the European Union funded Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Centre and the accompanying terrorist shrine are clearly ill-considered.
Indeed, we believe they are devoid of local support. We’ve yet to speak to anyone who asked for this, who wants this, or who will benefit from them.
The sooner these proposals are put out to grass and a strategic plan developed for the site, which focuses upon job creation and sustainable economic development the better.
None other than DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds has previously said that ‘however it is dressed up, whatever spin is deployed, the preservation of a section of the H-Blocks, including the hospital wing, would become a shrine to the terrorists who committed suicide in the Maze in the 1980s’. At UKIP, we agree fully with Nigel Dodds’ assessment, UKIP Would ask Mr Dodds why the about-turn?
It’s also telling that just a matter of weeks after Edwin Poots MLA advises the DUP have taken a ‘corporate decision’ to support the Maze proposals, planning permission is then granted.
Meantime, almost a decade after proposals for a John Lewis store and distribution centre were first mooted, the site remains derelict and with it, the potential for 1,500 jobs remain unfulfilled.
It’s a damning indictment on the priorities of the Executive parties, who continue to deliver for the few, whilst failing to deliver for the many and reminds us just how out of touch the governing Sinn Fein–DUP axis at Stormont really is
Councillor Henry Reilly
UKIP’s Northern Ireland Chairperson