Ulster Unionist Patty MLA Roy Beggs Jnr has voiced his support for a petition calling for the prison buildings at the Maze Prison site to be de-listed and demolished and for the “Conflict Transformation Centre” to be relocated.
The Ulster Unionist Party, TUV and UKIP have launched the petition. In a joint statement, issued by Mike Nesbitt MLA, Tom Elliott MLA, Jim Allister MLA and David McNarry MLA, they say:
“We call upon Sinn Fein and the DUP to put an immediate halt to the project which sites a ‘Conflict Transformation Centre’ at the Maze. We also call upon Sinn Fein and the DUP to de-list and demolish the prison buildings.
“Over the course of a number of months we met and listened to innocent victims groups right across Northern Ireland. It is clear that there is significant opposition within these groups, the RUC George Cross Association, the Prison Officers Association and other organisations to the “Conflict Transformation Centre” being built at the Maze and the retention of the hospital and H-Blocks. It is time for the DUP and Sinn Fein to start listening to the innocent victims of terrorism.
“The Maze site is the wrong location for a “Peace Centre” where the whole focus will be on the prison and what happened within its walls. The DUP and Sinn Fein should move the Centre to another site so that the Maze redevelopment can go ahead unhindered by the toxic legacy of our past.
“OFMDFM will not publish the business case, although they admit it could cost the taxpayer £2 million in the first 3 years. OFMDFM will not publish their research, commissioned through Colliers and there is no openness or transparency regarding the level of public support for this venue.
“If they won`t listen to us, then the DUP and Sinn Fein should listen to the innocent victims and other petitioners.”
The buildings were listed under Direct Rule, and were not de listed under successive DUP Ministers for the Environment including East Antrim MLA/MP Sammy Wilson.
Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs added,” if my constituents in East Antrim agree that what is being proposed is unacceptable and dangerous, they can sign the petition in either of my two offices in Larne or Carrickfergus.”