Friday 21 July 2017

Maze centre to tell stories of all the Troubles' victims

A conflict transformation centre at the Maze should be open by 2015, the First Minister said today.

The site near Lisburn should tell the stories of all who died during the troubles, Peter Robinson added.

He told the Assembly an application would be submitted for European funding early next year.

"I am absolutely determined, as I have no doubt is the deputy First Minister, that we will have an inclusive approach looking at all aspects of the former use of that site," he said.

The stories of the British army, prison officers and victims of terrorism will be heard, the DUP leader added.

Mr Robinson added it is anticipated ministers will obtain a decision on the bid to the Special European Union Programmes Body by next summer and if successful the centre should be built and operational by 2015.

Sinn Fein and the DUP have outlined a two-pronged plan, comprising a peace building and conflict resolution facility and a development agency to unlock the commercial potential of the site.

The site will retain a number of buildings which are listed, including the H-blocks and the hospital where 10 republican hunger strikers, led by IRA prisoner Bobby Sands, died in 1981.

Unionists had in the past expressed concern over any plan to retain buildings linked to the republican hunger strikers.

A dispute over how best to redevelop the site has raged since the prison closed in 2000.

In May it emerged more than €14m has been spent on the potential redevelopment of the former prison, including work to clear the site.

Press Association

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