The News Letter, in its editorial on Saturday, said that there must be no attempt to rewrite history by republicans as the recent debate concerning the proposed Conflict Resolution Centre with an existing H block and hospital wing at the site of the Maze prison is again raising many concerns within the unionist and loyalist communities.
The DUP Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, and his DUP colleague Edwin Poots MLA have stated that they will not allow this resolution centre to become a republican shrine.
Mr Poots said: “We will ensure that the story that is told is fair and it is balanced and it reflects what happened, and what happened was that over 25 years terrorism reigned in Northern Ireland. Thank God we don’t have that today. We need to reflect on that, that was not a good thing. The message that needs to go out to the world is that terrorism failed.”
While Edwin Poots may have this opinion I would agree with the view expressed by the News Letter in its editorial, TUV leader Jim Allister, former Ulster Unionist Party leader and its present justice spokesman Tom Elliott who take the view that if republicans are allowed to tell their story at the Maze it will be a story that will glorify terrorism, portray IRA terrorists as oppressed freedom fighters and they will try to rewrite the true history of the Troubles and make out that the security forces and prison officers were the aggressors and state forces who committed offences against the republican people therefore justifying the IRA terrorist campaign.
Imagine the untold damage this would do to the reputation of our security force members and to the families of those who have suffered at the hands of republican terrorists as the many visitors that would come from Irish American cities such as New York and Boston would listen to this propaganda being told and then they would be shown the hospital wing and H block where hunger striker Bobby Sands and other republicans were jailed.
The Prison Officers’ Association, through its spokesman Finlay Spratt, has also raised the fears of its members who have suffered at the hands of republican terrorists, and indeed the murder in November of prison officer David Black from Cookstown is evidence that the campaign by republican terrorists still continues.
I would not claim to speak for all, but I do know that many former security force members and prison officers in Mid Ulster and other border counties are very much opposed to this Conflict Resolution Centre being built and, far from them believing that terrorism has failed as Mr Poots suggests, they hold the view that terrorism has been rewarded as they see former terrorists in government running our country.
Traditional Unionist Voice