Surely not?

Chekist thinks there might be the odd conflict of interest involved in the Maze debate.

Of course now the DUP are fighting amongst themselves openly. Last time they complained (quite rightly) about a SF minister pork-barreling with health provision, this time they don’t seem too happy with one of their own! Maybe St Andrew’s didn’t nail down all the Ministerial authority issues after all….

  • pith

    Good future leadership move by Dodds.

  • GavBelfast

    Michael,

    In truth, the only REALLY enthusiastic support for the ‘Maze Masterplan’, including the stadium and whatever this ‘conflict transformation centre’ is (different things to different people obviously), has come from the small clique of Lagan Valley political representatives, egged-on by direct rule minister Hanson and a few trolls on this site.

    The sports concerned and some other people have gone along with it all and others are resigned to it happening, but a majority of people who know about these things from business and commerce, as well as fans, especially of the NI football team, are vehemently opposed to it.

    I fear that we will have a long time to repent at expensive leisure if the hundreds of millions of pounds is spent and wasted (with no Business Plan as yet!) on what is bound to be a flop.

  • IJP

    Of course, the Ulster Unionists are totally united on this one…

    the DUP has its divisions, but it’s really not unreasonable for Lisburn reps to support Lisburn and Belfast reps to support Belfast!

  • This whole Maze Debate has become so boring now that most people have totally lost any interest in it.

    GAA fans barely mention the project at all to be honest. Casement Park is attracting large crowds and has been allocated this Sundays Ulster semi-final as well. Some of The Rugby fans whom I work with never mention it either.

    Poots knows the realities and the sooner he just confirms the Maze as the venue the better…

  • Dodds has made a couple of sensible comments, though very off message, in the last couple of days.

  • tony

    ‘has come from the small clique of Lagan Valley political representatives’

    Arlene Foster is fully supportive of the Maze project, i’m pretty sure Fermanagh is not in Lagan Valley !

    The minister, committee chairman & vice chair all fully behind the Maze stadium.

    Thats a DUPer, a Shinner from Tyrone & UUP from Down.

    David McNarry’s constituency in Strangford is nowhere near lagan Valley, so your arguement does not stand up.

  • o’neill

    Poots knows the realities and the sooner he just confirms the Maze as the venue the better…

    Posted by macswiney

    I think the fact that he and the NIO have yet to publish a detailed and up to date costing analysis of the Maze project proves that he does, indeed, know “the realities”.

    According to Dodds:

    He said unionists would not support the project if the green light was also given for a conflict transformation centre retaining one of the H-Blocks.

    Chris Donnelly reiterated the Sinn Fein position last night on Slugger:

    As part of the Maze/ Kesh deal, there will be a Long Kesh conflict transformation centre and a number of important historical buildings from the former prison will be preserved- one of the H Blocks, Prison Hospital and a watchtower. So the DUP will have to bite the bullet on that one.

    And, as Mr Donnelly quite rightly pointed out, without Sinn Fein support there won’t be any new stadium anywhere

    Something’s got to give….I’m looking forward to see how the DUPers attempt to pull themselves out of this one.

  • fair_deal

    “Maybe St Andrew’s didn’t nail down all the Ministerial authority issues after all….”

    No ministerial decision has yet been taken and the final decision will involve more departments than simply DCAL

  • GavBelfast

    ‘Tony’,

    Evidence?

    I stand-by what I said: the only enthusiastic ‘all-party’ support for the Maze comes from the Lagan Valley clique, especially those on the quango Panel, which is not surprising.

    Otherwise, it’s laregly people going along with it, resigned to it or why not. The people who know what they are talking about virtually all thing it’s hare-brained, NI supporters across NI are mostly strongly opposed, rugby and GAA people don’t seem that bothered one way or another but seem content with their existing facilities (Casement, Ravenhill, Clones, Croker and Lansdowne Road).

    I’m not convinced a stadium wil be built anyway, there are bigger priorities, but with no sniff of a Business Case for such a grandiose scheme at the Maze, that’s not gonna happen either.

    Fine.

  • There’s a gross amount of naivety here if people think this debate is going to be settled in some sort of democratic way. From the minute that Ian Paisley intervened the other day and publicly dismissed the Ormeau Park, this signalled the final death knell for a Belfast Stadium.

    Nationalists dont want a stadium in the city. Rugby fans dont want in either. Unionist opinion is equally divided, leaving just a small proportion of people in favour of a stadium in Belfast. Mainly the 5 or 6,000 hard-core NI fans. Vociferous they may be, but they simply do not carry anything like the sheer weight of numbers or political influence which is
    necessary to force a change to the proposed Maze Development.

    Its simply a matter of time…

  • I think that any attempt to silence opposition or dissent within parties is outrageous and the kind of powers ministers in Stormont ’07 have are stupid. What, MLA’s can’t be trusted with their own opinions? At least it’s not as harsh with small parties and independents as the Dáil.

  • jimboy2

    Why can the national stadium be built in the Dargan area, or near the Odessy or Titanic Quarter?

    There it would be near the City Airport, sea ferries, M2, and the International Airport, West Link and the M1. Some direct transport linkage may have to be built, from the airport to the stadium for instance, but that could possibly be incorporated in an urban transport system.

  • ” National Stadium” ????

    When was it given that name then…?

  • Ginfizz

    “Arlene Foster is fully supportive of the Maze project, i’m pretty sure Fermanagh is not in Lagan Valley !”

    Absolutely untrue. Arlene Foster has never made any statement in support of the Maze terror-drome.

  • When was it given that name then…?

    The Northern Ireland Assembly had a debate about a “National Stadium” this week. I don’t think ther were talking about Wembley or Croke Park:

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2007-06-11.5.155

    Arlene Foster has expressed support for the Maze project previously, I think she was told we would get the 2012 Olympics 100 metres finals.

  • PeaceandJustice

    The GAA don’t need the stadium. They already have stadiums funded by the British Government. Will they open them up to other sports if required? Why aren’t other sports allowed their own stadium, but it’s OK for the GAA?

    The refurbishment of Windsor Park seems a sensible alternative to all this nonsense. Good to hear some sense from Nigel Dodds. Unionists don’t want a shrine to terrorists who committed suicide in the Maze. And why expose tourists to such propaganda? Edwin Poots seems to be acting in a very colloquial manner. Hopefully Nigel Dodds will knock some sense into him.

  • Ginfizz

    O’Neill

    Source?

  • tony

    gav

    Arlene Foster in a discussion in March said she fully supported the Maze development, i have heard nothing to make me beleive that she has changed her mind and she seems to be pretty much in sinc with her party leader.

    Perhaps she has the interests of her Fermanagh constituents at heart.Hardly surprising.

    Vice chair of the culture committee, David McNarry welcomed minister Poot’s announcement of the guaranteed use of the new Maze stadium for the olympics 2012.

    Regarding the business case, if you bothered following the issue closely, you would know that the minister said yesterday

    “Currently the outline business case is close to a completion and working towards a full business case for October of this year,” said Mr Poots.

    “The full business case has to be able to demonstrate that there’s no resource implications, that the stadium can actually pay for itself.”

    So no whiff of a business case because it will be ready in October, thats OCTOBER.

  • curious

    I am all for a shrine or memorial to the hunger strikers at the maze so long as the new stadium is built in Ormeau park Belfast.

  • kevin

    ‘Why aren’t other sports allowed their own stadium, but it’s OK for the GAA? ‘

    Perhaps they will open them up when the irish football association ends its sectarian ban on sunday football.

    The only association in the western world that operates an apartheid regime against its own players & supporters.

  • o’neill

    Ginfizz
    Click onto the link on the right:

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0305/qanda_av.html?2225750,null,230

    I read somewhere she’n now undecided, but afaik this is her only definite comment on the subject

  • “I think she was told we would get the 2012 Olympics 100 metres finals. ”

    Just checking, but this is a joke, right?

  • Ginfizz

    I really don’t know why we’re all getting so hot under the collar over this issue anyway. There won’t be a national(ist?) stadium. The project will cost far too much and I can’t really see Peter Robinson consenting to spend inxs of £300 million of taxpayers money on this when there are much more pressing matters.

    My own view is that an upgrade of Windsor, Ravenhill and Casement would be a much better and cheaper way to proceed.

  • Its great that the majority of the DUP and the other parties are standing firm against the small band of NI supporters who seem to think that they some sort of divine right to dictate where this stadium should be located.

    Lets not forget its only 3 or 4 years ago that NI were getting average crowds of just a pitiful 5 or 6,000 for International matches. There is every chance that this level of attendance will resume once their current blip in form has ended. Both Rugby and GAA have much massively bigger levels of attendance in The North.

  • Excuse that last grammatical error…!

  • I think she was told we would get the 2012 Olympics 100 metres finals. “

    Just checking, but this is a joke, right?

    Ziz
    If you check the link above, you’ll see Arlene is for the Maze because of “the 2012 Olympics”.
    Think she may have got her Londons and Lisburns mixed up.

  • Neither the GAA nor the Ulster Branch of the IRFU have any great desire for the Maze project and the supporters are certainly ambivalent. They aren’t as vociferous in their dissent because they’ll not be using it as regularly as the Northern Ireland team.

    The most vociferous supporters of the Maze are the same people who have a visceral hatred of the football team. They’re prepared to fund a 35000 seater white elephant simply to annoy the GAWA and because they’ll never be near the place anyway (other than to MOPE over a chicken supper in their terrorist shrine).

  • doug

    ‘Terrordome’ & ‘terrorist shrine’

    Shows how much n.i supporters are interested in a sports venue for sports reasons.

    It does explain the continued use of gstq, stormont flags and ‘no surrender’ chants at games.

    Green jersey, same tired loyalism

  • Doug,

    Couldnt agree more mate.

    When you look at the above comment from Ziznivy about “chicken suppers in a terrorist shrine” it shows just how bigoted and sectarian Northern Ireland supporters still are. They are definitely still the most sectarian supporters in Europe (along with The Serbs).

  • Ziznivy

    Ignoring the trolling re. bigotry, Serbs etc (Croat human Swastikas anyone?).

    The arguments advanced by NI supporters have deliberately not focused primarily on the terrordome aspect (as repugnant as that is to all right thinking people). Rather they have advanced arguments based on economics, infrastructure and the needs of the three sports.

    I object to the terrorist shrine, but that is nothing to do with supporting Northern Ireland specifically, it is because I’m a unionist.

  • GavBelfast

    I stand by everything I said earlier.

    You would expect something that’s going to be great and inevitable and with widespread and enthusiastic support to have the private sector falling over themselves to get involved. Yet not even a Business Case!

    There’s next to no chance of the Maze stadium going ahead – if it does, it will be a monumental mistake and a giant epitaph of failure to those who simply wanted a vanity project in their own backyard.

    Nuff said for now until there are any more developments.

  • snakebrain

    This whole debate just smells of the bullshit that perpetually invades NI.

    The Maze is obviously a stupid place for a major stadium, for the same reasons it was chosen as a good prison site; i.e. it’s hard to get to and the place is a shithole anyway. Are we going to get a miraculously improved system of public transport to go with it? Besides who wants to score a goal on the spot where a bunch of sectarian murderers were banged up?

    In any case, it’s like building a 50m swimming pool in a country that doesn’t have any decent water infrastructure. A bloody idiotic decision taken in the face of all prevailing knowledge and wisdom.

    But it’s politics.

    Aaaahhhhh, now I understand……

  • What is Windsor Park except a shrine to terrorism? Or how do you think the British Royal Family got to where it is today, except by terror campaigns throughout the world, India, Africa etc.

    Windsor Park is, sooner rather than later I hope, destined to become an apartment block complex and no body will be sorry to see it go that way.

    On a political level, I see an interesting trade off emerging. Sinn Féin supports a ‘national’ stadium at the Maze with a conflict transformation centre and, in return, the DUP allows the Irish Language Act to be enacted….. Either this happens or neither happens. And if it’s the latter on this occasion, then the next time the DUP want something, like uniforms for bandsmen, then, they’ll know the price.

    Perhaps it’s about time there was a common stadium as we do certainly seem to engaged in a long running game of political football…..

  • doug

    ” National Stadium” ????

    When was it given that name then…?

    macswiney

    The national flag of Ireland will fly regularly at the Long Kesh/Maze stadium and a packed stadium will stand to Amhán Na bhFiann at Ulster finals etc…

  • Ginfizz

    Doug

    I actually don’t follow footbal myself, so please don’t attempt to besmirch NI fans because of what I have said. Besmirch me if you want. Frankly I find the thought of an “intepretaive centre” to be totally wrong.

  • Diluted Orange

    Why are the combined subjects of building a new stadium and creating an H-Block museum being treated as a package?

    Surely it makes more sense to locate a new sporting stadium in any number of the brown field sites dotted around Belfast, where the existing infrastructure largely exists to accomodate the facilities. You can still locate the terror musuem at the Maze if needs be.

    I don’t see why anyone in Northern Ireland should be so filled with pride about what went on during the Troubles that their ideologies and egos need to be appeased even more than they are already by dedicating a lasting memorial to the violence and bloodshed that went on. We shouldn’t be revelling in the great legacy that the likes of Gusty Spence, Johnny Adair, Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams, Sean Kelly, Torrens Knights etc have left us – we should be treating their actions with the utter contempt and disdain that they deserve.

    ‘Conflict Transformation’ sounds like an exercise in rewriting history to me – to suit Republican thinking. If the DUP and Sinn Fein aren’t fighting over this now then it won’t be long until they do – I think that both parties will have very different views about what sort of history lesson is to be dished out to visitors to any terror museum.

  • Diluted Orange

    [i]The national flag of Ireland will fly regularly at the Long Kesh/Maze stadium and a packed stadium will stand to Amhán Na bhFiann at Ulster finals etc… [/i]

    Wasn’t aware that Ireland was a nation – never mind it having a national flag.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    What the hell is a ‘conflict transformation centre’?
    Exactly how is a shrine to terrorism going to transform anything?
    Let’s get real — the Maze/Long Kesh itself was nothing more than a bog standard prison. The fact that a few jokers chose to starve themselves to death because they thought that shooting people in the back and blowing up furniture stores were somehow political acts is an entirely self-inflicted republican wound. The eventual upshot was that SF could enter Stormont and sign up to partition. No amount of spin and dewy-eyed bullshit is going to alter that fact.

    If the hare-brained Maze stadium idea has to go ahead, it’s going to have more than enough problems without a highly controversial propaganda centre stuck in the middle of it.

    If that’s the price of a world-class sports stadium I say leave it.

  • GavBelfast

    Oh, and here is a development.

    Hopefully no Minister is telling porkies, I’m sure they aren’t.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news?articleid=2966121

  • What is Windsor Park except a shrine to terrorism? Or how do you think the British Royal Family got to where it is today, except by terror campaigns throughout the world, India, Africa etc.

    Oilibhear Chromaill,

    You should probably check where Windsor Park got its name from before departing too far down that road:
    http://www.everythingulster.com/blogs/index.php/2006/01/30/p364#more364

    On a political level, I see an interesting trade off emerging. Sinn Féin supports a ‘national’ stadium at the Maze with a conflict transformation centre and, in return, the DUP allows the Irish Language Act to be enacted….. Either this happens or neither happens. And if it’s the latter on this occasion, then the next time the DUP want something, like uniforms for bandsmen, then, they’ll know the price.

    Welll…yes, there will be a trade-off, SF couldn’t give a fiddler’s fart one way or another for a *national* stadium, it’s the *conflict transformation centre* that’s of prime importance to them.
    Whatever else happens, they’re going to get that and when they do, Poots and Donaldson (Paisley can be safely ignored, he’s finally departing into la-la land- greyhounds, Sunday schools?) will be left in an untenable position versus the pragmatists like Robbo and Dodds in the party. Ignore the emotion, the Maze doesn’t add up as a good business proposition, otherwise we would have already had a no-expenses spared business plan.

    When the country’s infrastructure is bordering on third-world standards, the Maze ain’t gonna happen and Ormeau ain’t gonna happen—if we’re lucky the various associations will get an upgrade grant.

  • jamie

    They have been working on the Belfast plan for a year and a half, and still can’t produce any figures

    And people are having a go at Poots ??

    “It would take three, possibly four months to produce a substantive report.

    Why do they not have a substantive report ready ?

    The Belfast guys are cowboys ,they haven’t said a word in the last 3 months & don’t seem to have a clue.

  • Mick Fealty

    A little bit of indecent haste smearing a whole group of people there guys. Would not happen if people treated each other as individuals and not just as cyphers for something you don’t like!

    But there’s an interesting idea that this project may never come to fruition. The design cost alone will be substantial to pull together a 35,000 stadium capable of giving a satisfying experience to both Gaelic and soccer fans.

    Bertiebowl anyone?

  • interested

    Michael,
    Why do you persist in embarassing yourself with these posts.

    There is no question (yet) of any Ministerial accountability issues as it hasn’t come before the Executive – hence Peter Robinson essentially slapping down ‘both sides’ in the debate by saying there wasn’t a business case on the table for any stadium, anywhere.

    If it did come before the Executive with Poots recommending the Maze of course it would only need 3 Ministers to table it for a cross-community vote. That could be Robinson, Dodds and even one UUP coming together if necessary.

    My money is on no stadium – Robinson ain’t gonna hand over the cash.

  • Realist

    “What is Windsor Park except a shrine to terrorism? Or how do you think the British Royal Family got to where it is today, except by terror campaigns throughout the world, India, Africa etc.”

    Oilibhear Chromaill,

    I’m embarrassed for you.

    Take a reddner.

  • austin

    Why do Northern Ireland soccer fans expect all of the rest of the population to like the idea of planting a concrete sports stadium smack bang in the middle of a beautiful park in the city?

    The height of arrogance or the height of delusion?

    Either way, get a grip!

  • Comrade Stalin

    macswiney:

    There’s a gross amount of naivety here if people think this debate is going to be settled in some sort of democratic way. From the minute that Ian Paisley intervened the other day and publicly dismissed the Ormeau Park, this signalled the final death knell for a Belfast Stadium.

    Why do you insist on embarassing yourself with this misinformed rubbish ? There was a death knell for a stadium at Ormeau Park. Not Belfast. There are plenty of places in Belfast where a stadium could be built.

    I hope the chuckies aren’t backing the Maze on the basis that it’ll allow them to promote their shrine to the hunger strikers. Windsor is a crap place to put a stadium, it’s unlikely to be big enough – but the obsession some people have with putting a stadium where there are no hotels, motorway links, railway stations or other infrastructure to support the volumes of traffic and number of people likely to visit is totally stupid. Like Craigavon, people will ask for decades to come “whose stupid idea was it to put the thing out in the middle of nowhere?”. A stadium at the Maze will be successful in the way that Craigavon was a successful attempt to build a shared suburban utopia – ie NOT.

  • Realist

    Why do republicans expect all of the rest of the population to like the idea of planting a terrorist glorification centre smack bang in the middle of a shared space, sporting complex?

    The height of arrogance or the height of delusion?

    Either way, get a grip!

  • austin

    Oh dear, Realist-imitation is the sincerest form and all that……

    Why do you automatically assume that because I don’t want one of our best remaining green areas blighted by a concrete jungle, that I must be a republican in favour of a ‘terrorist glorification centre.’

    This betrays your innate prejudice and is highly indicative of the childish, bullying attitude of NI soccer fans.

    A bit embarrassing really.

  • Realist

    austin,

    Why do you automatically assume that I was asking you specifically?

    I don’t think I addressed you personally in my post.

    Bit touchy, aren’t you?

  • slug

    My views:

    I would strongly prefer a stadium in Belfast on economic and amenity grounds. I would prefer if its not on parkland.

    I would prefer not to have a “shrine” to terrorists however I would be happy for there to be some kind of museum.

    I would like to see a lot of the land at the Maze sold off to the private sector for housing development rather than feel we have to spend £££m dreaming up something to do with it just because it is there; this really is Millenium Dome type territory and we cannot afford to waste money on that scale.

    This is a fascinating political situation. I have no idea how it will work out. I have a feeling that there will not be a stadium at the maze because there isn’t a good economic case, and Peter Robinson knows that.

  • Realist

    austin,

    “This betrays your innate prejudice and is highly indicative of the childish, bullying attitude of NI soccer fans”

    Ohhh get you!

    Is the irony of the above comment lost on a “Mr Neutral On Everything” like yourself?

    I had been thinking you were a big supporter of the idea of a, so called, “United” Ireland football team. Obviously not.

    Just goes to show – it’s wrong to be assumptive. 🙂

  • kensei

    “Why do republicans expect all of the rest of the population to like the idea of planting a terrorist glorification centre smack bang in the middle of a shared space, sporting complex? ”

    See, when I start hearing hyperbole like “Terrorist Glorification Centre”, alarm bells start going off in my head. There might be a museum of some sorts, but with the political make-up of this place is “terrorist glorification center” a starter? Really? Not a hope. A year after it is built no one will care. It’s the resort of people who don’t have an argument.

    There are plenty of sensible reasons for having a stadium in Belfast (though not in Ormeau Park, for fucks sake). Try making that argument.

  • Realist

    “There might be a museum of some sorts”

    Really?

    And what would this consist of?

    Give me in detail how you envisage it.

    “A year after it is built no one will care”

    PSF seem to dictate that if there’s no “museum” (cough), there’s no stadium – they obviously care…a lot.

    Why would that be?

    “There are plenty of sensible reasons for having a stadium in Belfast”

    Indeed.

    “Try making that argument”

    It’s been well made already – by many economic experts.

  • austin

    Realist,
    Your playing of the man and not the ball merely underlines the paucity of your argument.My point, which you have studiously ignored, is that why do NI fans assume that everyone must agree that it is a good idea to plant a concrete stadium in the middle of one of the few remaining parks in inner Belfast?
    Personally, I am ambivalent about what is or isn’t built at the Maze. I am not averse to a stadium in Belfast but, like our esteemed First Minister,I do not want this in the Ormeau Park.

  • Realist

    austin,

    They could build a nice park at The Maze – be a lovely day out.

    “why do NI fans assume that everyone must agree that it is a good idea to plant a concrete stadium in the middle of one of the few remaining parks in inner Belfast?”

    I don’t think they do assume that. Many fans oppossed to The Maze are also oppossed to Ormeau, for many reasons.

    But, it’s not just some NI fans who support the Stadium For Belfast idea – as you well know.

    Seen many economists favour The Maze have you?

    Maybe they’re all just “prejudiced”.

    If it boils down to Maze v Ormeau, I favour Ormeau.

    Ormeau would not be my ideal choice tho.

  • austin

    If not Ormeau, where else is a viable and neutral Belfast alternative, Realist? I understand that the Titanic Quarter land is all already ear-marked for other uses.

    If not there, where, in your view?

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Its fine to say that Belfast has yet to come forward with a business case, but neither has Lisburn! And DCAL, the NIO and the SIB have had almost three years to compile one. Poots is putting pressure on Belfast to come up with a plan covering all the bases in a matter of days. Where is the Lisburn plan Minister?

  • GavBelfast

    And, Brendan, following on from the Let’s Talk discussion thread about the poverty of incisive questioning and cutting journalism, why has no journalist been asking this question in particular – the absence of a business case – and others like the selection process and endless thwarting of Freedom of Information requests?

    A mixture of amateurism and prepardeness to be NIO toadies either by accident or design?

  • Cruimh

    “why do NI fans assume that everyone must agree that it is a good idea to plant a concrete stadium in the middle of one of the few remaining parks in inner Belfast? ”

    Yep. Good point.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    i finmd it very frustrating to see/hear Poots (anmd Hanson before him) being interviewed and not asked relevant questions. I think you are right – there is very little, almost no, decent investigative or even probing journalism in NI.

  • GavBelfast

    The myth that Ormeau Park would more or less be replaced by a stadium is another one that has been allowed to get into the public consciousness.

    As a myth, it’s right up there with ‘sure a stadium at the Maze is for free’.

    Someday, someone will produce a (long) list of the myths, misleads and downright lies associated with this awful vanity project.

  • kensei

    “Really?

    And what would this consist of?

    Give me in detail how you envisage it.”

    No. I am not responsible for designing it. A brief guess would probably be: bit of the H Blocks maintained, some history of the prison (including history of escapes :)), some history of the troubles, something suitable about victims. Possibly some history of police and prison service. Perhaps a venue to give lectures on various aspects of the troubles. I’m sure people can come with something suitably balanced that would be an interesting enough way for visitors to spend some time.

    “PSF seem to dictate that if there’s no “museum” (cough), there’s no stadium – they obviously care…a lot.”

    I’m sure they do. That really wasn’t my point. My point was that there’ll be a big fuss as an easy way to stir people up, it’ll go up, be religiously neutral and controversial and the fuss will have died down within a year.

    “Why would that be?”

    I’m sure they want it remembered, since there are a lot of people that spent time there and the significance of the Hunger Strikes. And I’m sure they’ll push for the most sympathetic treatment going. It’s irrelevant. The museum produced will still be a fairly uncontroversial thing.

    “It’s been well made already – by many economic experts.”

    Perhaps leave the argument to them, then, rather than talking bollocks about a shrine to Terrorism that won’t happen.

  • Realist

    austin,

    “If not there, where, in your view?”

    Titanic Quarter would have been 1st preference for me, but that’s not on the radar.

    North Foreshore perhaps?

    kensei,

    What you meant to say is, no plans have formally been produced for this, erm, “museum” yet.

    PSF support for The Maze is dependent on the “museum” being built – I have yet to see them produce any arguement for The Maze based on economic or sporting reasons.

    In a departure from the norm, Nigel Dodds expresses my thinking on the matter exactly.

    Leaving aside the museum, The Maze is just not right for so many reasons.

    Have you seen The Maze business plan yet?

    If you have, will you let us all into the secret?

  • kensei

    “Have you seen The Maze business plan yet?”

    Have you seen a workable one for anywhere else? I am also in favour of a Belfast stadium, just not in Ormeau Park.

  • Realist

    kensei,

    “Have you seen a workable one for anywhere else?”

    I expect to see one very shortly.

    When will Poots be producing a plan for The Maze?

    He wants to see other “viable plans”, but cannot produce one for the site he favours.

    That’s remarkable.

    The Government should maybe just sell The Maze site to a private developer – they would fetch between £400M & £500M.

    If they redistributed half of this equally amongst the three main sports, it would be a better plan than the white elephant being put upon us in a political vanity project – and I think the supporters of the three main sports would be much happier.

  • Realist

    PSF stance on the great stadium debate.

    Paul Butler:

    “Sinn Fein will not agree to plans to build any stadium until we get agreement to open up the jail as a visiter attraction”

    “Sinn Fein will not back ANY plans for a stadium in Belfast.”

    So much for debate, and so much for economic and sporting reasons.

  • austin

    Who is PSF, Realist?

  • mojo

    NI Supporters Groups are now lobbying for their own football stadium holding approx. 30,000 to be built somewhere in prime commercial land in Belfast. Oh and they are graciously prepared to allow provision of 2 further separate stadia built for GAA and Rugby by which time we’ll presumably have no parks or commercial sites left.
    How many times a year would this football stadium be used by the NI team?-4 or 5 a year including friendlies with a strong possibility that the stadium won’t be filled for most if not all games
    What will happen this the rest of the time? Maybe they could put a greyhound track in it or perhaps a bingo hall just to get a crowd along.

    And they have a cheek to call the Maze a White Elephant!

  • Realist

    austin,

    Provisional Sinn Fein, ie. not Republican Sinn Fein.

  • austin

    Realist

    A plausible explanation indeed as I know that ‘Republican’ and ‘Provisional’ Sinn Fein have both been very active in the media on the Maze Stadium and it would be easy to confuse the stances of both on this matter.
    Indeed to confirm the credibility of your terminology, you may wish to enlighten us as to the recent public pronouncements by Republican Sinn Fein on the stadium issue.

  • Realist

    mojo,

    “NI Supporters Groups are now lobbying for their own football stadium holding approx. 30,000 to be built somewhere in prime commercial land in Belfast”

    Hardly a new revelation there – although I don’t think many deeply object to sharing such a stadium with other sports.

    “How many times a year would this football stadium be used by the NI team?-4 or 5 a year including friendlies with a strong possibility that the stadium won’t be filled for most if not all games”

    The 42,000 capacity at The Maze has been vetoed by the GAA.

    How many times per year will the GAA fill the place? More than 4 or 5? What GAA games will be played there, that will fill the stadium each year?

    Would a few quid to revamp Casement Park not be more appealing to GAA members?

    £100M or The Maze? What would the GAA rather have?

    Same applies to the Ulster Branch of the IRFU.

    Genuinely curious.

    In a strange twist of fate, Antrim GAA were meeting in the Wellington Park Hotel last Tuesday at the same time that the IFA were holding their AGM at the same venue.

    There was an anti Maze protest outside the doors of the hotel, and some of those making their way to the GAA meeting stopped to talk with the NI fans- suffice to say, there was plenty in common, on The Maze issue.

  • Realist

    austin,

    I am only aware of pronouncements (dictates) by Provisional Sinn Fein on The Maze issue.

    One of my work colleagues is a supporter of Republican Sinn Fein tho – he’s a football fan and a GAA member, and simply told me “the GAA don’t need it” when I asked him about the new stadium a couple of months back.

  • austin

    Realist,

    If Republican Sinn Fein has had had nothing to say on the matter, then why do you feel the need to prefix Sinn Fein with a ‘P’ to denote Provisional on this thread?

    After all it was you who was bemoaning the absence of an economic and sporting context in your earlier post.

    Pot? Kettle?

  • Realist

    austin,

    I’ll continue to differentiate between the two Sinn Feins, thanks all the same.

    Now, can you show me anything PSF have said about the economics or sporting considerations of The Maze?

    Afterall all, they’re telling the rest of us, it’s The Maze or nowhere.

  • austin

    The economic and sporting case for the Maze has to be made by those first advocating for the sport stadium at the Maze which certainly was not Sinn Fein-you may wish to contact Mr. Poots on that one.
    It is sadly evident that your use of the inaccurate term PSF to describe Sinn Fein is a less than subtle studied insult.
    Unfortunately this is symptomatic of the prejudiced attitude of NI supporters to those in the nationalist community( politicians, community and sports fans alike.)

    On that note………….

  • norman

    I regret to say that Austin is right on this. Rightly or wrongly NI soccer fans are perceived as the main users and beneficiaries of the new stadium. As a supporter I feel that we have an unfair image because of what happened long in the past. However it is a fact that the vast majority of the GAWA are from a unionist/protestant background. Therefore we need the goodwill and support of the ‘other’ community to support us in having a control on where the new stadium will be.
    That will be a difficult enough exercise which will be harder if we do not demonstrate political maturity towards and tolerance of the elected representatives of that community.
    Realist’s obvious back-handed swipe at Sinn Fein is an example of how not to win friends and influence people. Neither are references on an NI fans web-site to the Maze Commemoration site as the ‘starvo’ centre, for example.
    We need to win nationalist support for a Belfast stadium as, Lords knows, we have little enough support for that within the higher echelons of the DUP.

  • Realist

    “Realist’s obvious back-handed swipe at Sinn Fein is an example of how not to win friends and influence people”

    norman,

    I merely set out PSF’s position on The Maze.

    In fact, I quoted Paul Butler verbatim.

    “We need to win nationalist support for a Belfast stadium as, Lords knows, we have little enough support for that within the higher echelons of the DUP.”

    There is “nationalist” support for a stadium in Belfast – unless you’re suggesting that the detailed economic report published earlier this week by academics at The University Of Ulster was made solely by unionists?

    Regarding the higher echelons of the DUP, I would suggest that Robinson and Dodds (both whom have had their say this week) are influencial – and it’s funny how wee Jeffrey has gone quiet on the matter all of a sudden.

    With the exception of PSF, I believe the membership of all other parties are split on this issue.

    I would like to see or hear the PSF business and sporting case for The Maze – I looks to many that their support for the project is only to do with non sporting interests.

    Perhaps one of their members here will enlighten us?

  • mojo

    PSF, Realist?

    What is your view on the use of the term ‘starvo centre’ on the Our Wee Country Website?

  • Realist

    mojo,

    “PSF, Realist”

    Yes – refer to earlier posts.

    “What is your view on the use of the term ‘starvo centre’ on the Our Wee Country Website?”

    My view would be that whoever wrote it feels strongly that there should not be any shrine to those members of sectarian parailitary organisations who committed suicide through starvation at The Maze/Long Kesh.

    I wouldn’t endorse his/her terminology, but I would agree wholly with his/her sentiment.

  • Realist

    Jarlath Burns on today’s Politics Show:

    “I suppose from a GAA perspective, a lot of GAA people are puzzled at the approach the Ulster Council have taken because of the amount of great stadiums we have already – do we need another one at the Maze?”

    “But, my own belief in it is that there was a sort of an unwritten, unsaid agreement between Sinn Fein and the GAA where the republicans said they would allow the GAA to make up its own mind without interference on Rule 21 and Rule 42, and allow them to reflect on that IF the GAA, as a sort of a quid-pro-quo, would be supportive of the Maze Stadium because, of course, it is part of the project which includes H3 and the prison hospital which was of deep emotional significance to republicans”.

    Further evidence that this is a purely political project, driven by politics and not at all by the needs or wants of sport.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Realist – i do not have the exact quote but don’t forget that Mairtin O’Muilleoir on his own blog said something like “of course the stadium should be in Belfast, but we wanted a museum…the things you do for love.”

    that’s worth noting as he sat on the original Maze Regeneration Panel as SF’s representative, along with Poots who was the DUP’s and two members each from the SDLP and UUP. David Campbell co chaired the panel while the well known arse lick of the Strategic Investment Board Michael McKernan was the Durkan’s choice of co chair.

    Let no-one, least of all the Minister, claim that the Maze is driven by economics or a by a business plan. if it was, why wont the Minister release a business plan?

    why – in the absence of a business plan / viability study is he pressing ahead with the ‘naming rights’ and an international design competition?

    Its politics, and its dirty politics.

  • mojo

    1) The Prisoners Compounds site will be 3/4’s of a mile away from the stadium.
    2) The Centre will include a loyalist compound. This compound housed some of the worst loyalist sectarian killers including the Shankill Butchers.
    3) As a person who had a relative killed by a sectarian gang, I do not like this but I am prepared to begrudgingly accept that this period of time was part of our history. The issue of the loyalist compound is rarely mentioned by NI fans.
    4) The true reason why NI fans are opposed to the Maze is because they are unwilling to share a stadium with nationalist followers of any sport. They have successfully managed to keep Catholic soccer fans out of Windsor Park, so how can they tolerate Gaelic fans at a new, shared stadium?
    5) Crowds for domestic soccer games in NI are pitiful. International games will rarely exceed more than 15,000 and will nosedive dramatically once the current team’s form starts to level out.
    6)Witness the disgraceful and disparaging comments this evening on a certain web-site
    regarding their great player, Derek Dougan, who sadly passed away. All because this fine and decent East Belfast man had the temerity to call for a United Ireland team
    7)As proof of their ingrained sectarianism, see how many fans from nationalist areas will be at tomorrow night’s 25th anniversary commemoration of the 1982 World Cup. That is the true and damning measure of how far their support has (not)travelled over the last 25 years.
    8) And they have the cheek to want to sponge the cost of an exclusively NI soccer stadium from our entire community?