Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

TUV leader challenges DUP over republican prison tours

Jim Allister
Jim Allister

A Belfast-based travel company is already offering tours of the Maze prison, it was revealed yesterday.

But they will not, of course, include the Conflict and Resolution Centre — which has yet to be constructed.

Coiste Political Tours says it can also provide tours of the Shankill area with ex-prisoners from a unionist background. Hardline unionist Jim Allister has now tabled Assembly questions asking how many tours have taken place and why they are being permitted.

The Traditional Unionist Voice leader further argued the revelation challenged First Minister Peter Robinson’s claim to have a veto on developments at the controversial site. “What on earth do people think republican former terrorist prisoners are telling people during their Maze prison tours?,” he asked.

“Would Jeffrey Donaldson claim that they don’t mention Bobby Sands, as he has claimed will be the case once the so-called “conflict transformation centre” is built?

“The DUP keep insisting they have a veto on what happens on the Maze site so why have they not vetoed what is already happening there?

“The more about the Maze one hears the more preposterous their claims appear,” Mr Allister added. He also targeted the DUP’s Arlene Foster, whose ministerial portfolio includes tourism, in his questions.

The company, which began a decade ago, admits its tours “give the republican viewpoint” involving trained guides from the “political ex-prisoner community”.

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