A DUP MP had been preparing to give a group of IRA victims a tour of the Maze Prison site in an attempt to win their support for a peace centre at the site – as his party was preparing to abandon the proposal.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson had been in discussions with victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer about the tour of the site.
Mr Frazer’s victims’ group,Fair, had asked the DUP to facilitate a visit to the site to explain their then-backing of the controversial centre. Mr Donaldson said: “We had been contacted by Fair several weeks ago. Obviously that has now been surpassed by the announcement that we are not now going ahead with the peace centre.
“But if the group still want to visit the site and receive a briefing on our party’s position we are very happy to facilitate them.”
Mr Frazer said: “The planned trip for August 27 was meant to be an opportunity for them to change our minds. It would have been a hard sell but he was prepared to try it. I don’t know if it will go ahead now or not.”
The centre was to be built as part of a £300 million redevelopment of the site which is now in some jeopardy.
Last week First Minister Peter Robinson announced the U-turn in a lengthy letter from Florida, where he is on holiday. Mr Donaldson said that the DUP had been discussing the move “for two weeks before the decision” .