Former RUC officers speaking out against a conflict transformation centre at the old Maze prison is yet another reason for the plans to be scrapped, according to the Ulster Unionists.
At a meeting of the UUP executive, on the same day the News Letter carried the hard-hitting comments of the RUC George Cross Association, party leaders unanimously passed a resolution calling for the demolition of the former prison buildings.
As part of the wider Peace building and Conflict Resolution Centre (PbCRC) project, the former prison hospital and one of the H-Blocks are among a small number of buildings being retained.
On the same site, but not in the original prison buildings, there will be a centre designed to tell the story of prison inmates, the prison officers and the security forces.
Speaking in yesterday’s News Letter, members of the RUC GC Association’s central co-ordinating group said there should be no attempt to equate the community service of law enforcement with those who murdered civilians and security personnel alike without remorse – describing the Maze site as “the very antithesis of peace”.
The UUP motion was proposed by the party’s justice spokesman, Tom Elliott, and seconded by UUP treasurer, Mark Cosgrove.
Mr Cosgrove, a Newtownabbey councillor, said: “There is growing opposition to the Maze proposals from right across the community as evidenced by last week’s decision by all 10 branches of the RUC George Cross Association to oppose the siting of the conflict transformation centre at the Maze.
“I was proud to second the motion at the party’s executive meeting. Its unanimous endorsement is proof that the Ulster Unionist Party is corporately opposed to OFMdFM’s plans, which we believe will inevitably lead to the creation of a shrine to terror at the Maze.”
Cllr Cosgrove added: “It is still not too late for the First Minister to do what’s right.”
OFMDFM ministers have consistently denied the PbCRC will become a shrine to terrorists.