Belfast Telegraph

No development at Maze site unless the DUP honours agreement: Sinn Fein

BY NOEL MCADAM

The collapsed Peace and Conflict Resolution Centre leaves the Maze a "dead duck" issue, Sinn Fein has claimed.

The party warned unless the DUP honours an agreement on the centre there will be no development on the site, with the potential loss of 5,000 jobs.

First Minister Peter Robinson said it would be "cruel" of Sinn Fein to "punish the people of Northern Ireland" over the issue.

Speaking in Coleraine, the DUP leader added the centre could only proceed "with widespread community support", but there was no reason why development of the site cannot go ahead.

The responses came after Sinn Fein's former director of communications Danny Morrison forecast the Assembly could collapse over the stalemate on the Maze peace centre.

Mr Morrison said: "Not that for a moment I think that political stalemate will trigger a resumption of armed struggle. I hope I am wrong, but I suspect that the Assembly could collapse."

However, a senior Sinn Fein source said: "Walking away from Stormont has not been discussed at any level in the party, but we have walked away from the issue.

"Martin (McGuinness) killed it off in the Assembly on Monday. The ball is very much in the DUP court.

"Why would we be concerned about a project in an area like Lagan Valley, where unionism is dominant? It is a dead duck."

Senior party sources stressed that walking away from the Executive was not an option.

The DUP and Sinn Fein appear keen to deflect attention from the controversy in the run-up to next week's investment conference where Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness will display a united front.

BACKGROUND

Tensions have heightened between Sinn Fein and the DUP after Peter Robinson withdrew support for an agreement on a so-called peace centre at the Maze site. Relations have deteriorated during unrest over the Union flag protests, loyal order marches and a commemoration of two IRA volunteers.

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