Recently, I had the privilege of joining a private guided tour of Craigavon House, the former home of Sir James Craig, which played a key part in the Ulster Crisis of 1912-14.
The building is in a semi-derelict state.
It will take just £2 million to put the house in good order and save it for future generations.
Decades of visits from Unionist leaders have so far failed to extract the necessary cash from the Stormont administration, which is calmly contemplating giving tens of millions more to the development of the GAA’s Casement Park.
This is a scandal.
The New Decade, New Approach document makes a vague reference to “exploring projects such as a Shared History Fund, the restoration of Craigavon House and the Great Ulster Forest” (p age 49).
We now know that items in this document simply constitute a wish list, with no finance having been provided for them.
My colleagues on the tour agreed that the failure to deliver on Craigavon House over many decades represents proof of the weakness of Unionism.
It is time for our elected representatives to threaten and cajole until Craigavon House is saved, with the building put to a use compatible with its important role in Unionist history.
The house, which is on Circular Road, Belfast BT4 2NA, is open for public guided tours (no booking required) on one of the European Heritage Open Days, Saturday 11 September 2021.
Tours of the ground floor, which last around 45 minutes, begin at 11.00 am, and I am told that the last tour starts at 4.30 pm.
They are at regular intervals throughout the day.
Perhaps you could visit Craigavon House on 11 September and lend your voice to those calling for proper financial assistance, and do express your appreciation to the wonderful volunteers who are keeping the elements at bay with little or no help from public funds.
Dr Paul Kingsley, Belfast BT4
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