A MEETING involving a wide range of ‘anti’ opinion is being called early next week in a bid to scrap the peace and reconciliation centre – often dubbed “the terrorists’ shrine” – at the former Maze Prison site.
Members of the Ulster Unionist Party, TUV and various victims’ groups are attending, and it is reported that representatives of prison officers, the RUC GC Association, the UDR and individual families affected by the Troubles may also be there.
Fermanagh and south Tyrone MLA and former leader of UUP Tom Elliott is a main driving force behind the opposition, and said the ultimate aim was to undermine the project to such an extent that it will be scrapped. The move comes after DUP MLA and Health Minister Edwin Poots announced that his party had taken “a corporate decision” to back the centre, where the aim is to tell the story of everyone affected by the Troubles.
Mr Elliott said: “A vast swathe of the people affected simply don’t want this shrine. The paramilitaries might want it as a tribute to their murder campaign, but the families of security personnel, prison officers and politicians who know the score just don’t want to be part of it.”
He confirmed that the meeting was “early next week in mid-Ulster, but we want to hold it away from the glare of publicity”.
The DUP, though, says that the centre should be built and should reflect every side and aspect of the Troubles, with Mr Poots insisting that it would not become a republican shrine. “We will ensure that the story that is told is fair and it is balanced and it reflects what happened,” he said.