Belfast Telegraph

Victims' group slams suggestion last H-block be opened to public

H-block at the Maze Prison.
H-block at the Maze Prison.

By Steven Alexander

A victims group has hit out after it was suggested that the last remaining H-block at the Maze Prison site could be opened to the public.

Last week developers said plans for a peace centre had been "set aside". Longstanding political wrangling over what unionists said would be "a shrine to terrorism" and the withdrawal of EU funding put paid to it. But other plans to develop the 347-acre site near Lisburn may now go forward.

Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt told BBC NI's Nolan Show that he had seen inside H-block 6 and believed there "is merit in young people going down those corridors and looking at those tiny bare cells, because I can't think of any cause that would be worth going to a prison like that for".

He said if we are to learn from the mistakes of the past and not repeat history "then there is merit in opening that H-block 6".

Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United (IVU) said victims of terrorism were concerned that H-block 6 could be retained.

He said that at an IVU event in Stormont in 2013 "many politicians of all swathes of democratic opinion were in attendance and witnessed the strength of feeling against such a proposal at the Maze being advanced".

"At the time we made it clear that we would continue to closely monitor any effort to open up the Maze terror buildings to public access where terrorism idolatry would be a certain outworking.

"Politicians' interests may change as the years go by but the principles held by innocent victims and survivors of terrorism which are based upon their lived experiences have not," he said.

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