Belfast Telegraph

Maze plans 'could bring 5,000 jobs'

The transformation of the Maze prison site could create 5,000 jobs, the deputy First Minister said.

Martin McGuinness predicted an estimated £300 million in investment and the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) has already decided to relocate there.

The high-security jail housed paramilitary prisoners during the conflict in Northern Ireland from 1971. The prison, where 10 men died during the 1981 hunger strikes, closed in 2000.

Mr McGuinness told the Assembly: "The development corporation's key aim will be to maximise the economic, historic and reconciliation potential of the site and we are pleased to report that this is already under way through the confirmed relocation of the RUAS to the site in time for its 2013 agricultural show.

"The 20 million euros EU-funded peace building and conflict resolution centre will also be constructed by 2015 and early indications suggest that the development of the 347 acre site could deliver an estimated £300 million in investment with approximately 5,000 jobs created on and through the site."

The chairman of Glentoran Football Club has been selected to spearhead the body that will oversee the transformation of the former prison site.

Terence Brannigan, who is also a member of the DUP, will be chairman of the new Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation.

Mr Brannigan has said he expected the development would be well used and open for a wide range of events.

He has promised a Conflict Transformation Centre on the site would not be a shrine to terrorists.

The Maze was earmarked for a new national sports stadium but the proposal was rejected after years of disagreement.

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