ENVIRONMENT Minister Sammy Wilson is reflecting wide public concerns in asking his Environment Agency officials if he can revoke the listed building status of structures at the former Maze prison near Lisburn.
The prison, which housed notorious republican and loyalist prisoners guilty of committing the most heinous crimes during the Troubles, is a grim and ghastly reminder of that dark and dangerous period in our recent history which resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent people.
The former H block cells at the Maze certainly have no acknowledged architectural value and their narrow historical and cultural contribution in the context of a unified society in the post-Troubles Northern Ireland is certainly not positive.
The former jail's hospital and part of the H Blocks are currently listed and many people, not all of them unionist, are perplexed at the official protections in place at the site, suspecting that republicans are targeting it as a "shrine" to the 10 IRA hungers strikers who died in 1981.
A multi-sports stadium at the Maze site has been abandoned and civil servants are still considering alternative re-devolopment proposals that will be of an economic boost to the area.
Minister Wilson, appearing favourable to a de-listing, concludes: "I believe it is appropriate that the concerns expressed by the public and some Assembly members, subsequent to the protection of these structures by the Environment Agency, are seen to have been seriously considered".
Perpetuating the concept of murder and mayhem through the maintenance of the Maze prison structures is not compatible with the Northern Ireland of 2009 which places as a priority a society working in unison towards a better, more stable future.