The Ulster Unionist Party can reveal that the Board of the Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation (MLKDC) has dropped plans for a Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Centre (PbCRC). The Centre was originally supported by both the DUP and Sinn Féin, but the DUP withdrew their support in the infamous “Letter from America” in August 2013, when the then First Minister Peter Robinson MLA bowed to pressure from the Ulster Unionist Party and others not to risk creating a terrorist shrine on the MLK site.
European Election candidate Danny Kennedy, who was part of the delegation that was briefed on MLKDC’s Revised Strategy by MLKDC Chairman Terence Brannigan and Chief Executive Bryan Gregory, welcomed the news.
Mr Kennedy said:
“The Ulster Unionist Party has always supported the principle of strategic development at the site of the former Maze Prison. Creating a so-called peace centre at the site was a toxic idea for thousands of victims of terrorist violence. We suggested the Crumlin Road, or the Titanic Quarter as more fitting venues and fought long and hard to support the views of victims over victim makers. Sinn Féin's intransigence has cost Northern Ireland hundreds of millions of Euro in EU funding.
“While the news that the Development Corporation has removed the so-called Peace Building and Conflict Reconciliation Centre from their plans is welcome, it is an outrage that the Corporation has been left without political direction for nearly 6 long years. The body charged with delivering a £300 million development, creating 5,000 jobs, is reduced to carrying out essential maintenance and health & safety work. And all because Sinn Féin have taken a hissy fit over the peace centre.
“It is time to take the handcuffs off the Development Corporation and allow them to push ahead with what should be the single most important economic initiative we have. Properly developed, the Maze could be the catalyst for a £800 million investment with 14,000 high quality jobs and several thousand new homes. That is the Ulster Unionist Party’s vision for properly functioning devolution. I am asking my MLA colleagues to ensure the delivery of this site with the associated prosperity, is on the agenda for the current political talks.”