Donaldson slightly off message?

Jeffrey Donaldson has predicted that delays over the Maze stadium may well have cost Northern Ireland the opportunity to have a major role in the London 2012 Olympic Games. This has drawn an attack from SF’s Barry McElduff suggesting that the blame for losing this opportunity would be best placed at the DUP’s door. Considering that Gregory Campbell has said he is about to make his decision on the stadium: Donaldson seems to be indulging in a bit of megaphone lobbying or assigning blame to Campbell if (as most predict) the Maze stadium is binned. The Maze stadium, complete with “shrine” / conflict transformation centre seems pretty unpopular with many unionists (and indeed within the DUP). As such it is a little surprising even considering it is their constituency that Poots and now Donaldson still seem to be very openly supporting the Maze.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Unless Jeffrey is being wheeled out to break the bad news (for Dup supporters) that it game on for the Bobby Bowl.

  • Sam Flanagan

    I have a feeling the Maze, the Olympics, and all the other issues MSM portray as important to Jeffrey,Gregory and their deceitful British establishment apparactchik comrades will soon seem very insignificant indeed!

  • ParallaxCo

    In my opinion the spectacle of our politicians unable to agree and accept the Maze stadium is one of the more revealing episodes in the history of this pathetic little part of the world. The idea that we would rather pave over one of the few parks left in our city centre or place it on top of a potentially toxic landfill site is so ludicrous that it could be the plot of a new Batman movie. Step forward the Joker. Unbelievable.

  • hold the equestrian events in NI (although Hickstead would be peed off)

    it has a similar status to Hong Kong after all, albeit on what seems an inevitable course out of the UK rather than into it, and is a lot closer than the 2,000km HK is from Beijing 🙂

  • The Raven

    Blame blame blame blame. Build the damn thing already!

  • cynic

    Jobs or not would the MLAs really want all those Catholics visiting their wonderful borough to worship at the Shrine to Saint Bobby and his apostles?

  • Danny O’Connor

    Decisions – from an executive that doesn’t meet ?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Jobs or not would the MLAs really want all those Catholics visiting their wonderful borough to worship at the Shrine to Saint Bobby and his apostles?”

    There were loyalist prisoners in the Maze, aka Longkesh, aka H-Blocks too, so would it be a totally republican shrine? I thought the blocks that would be kept for the transformation centre are where loyalists prisoners were kept not republicans!


    The Maze was the place of the Hunger Strikes and that period struck real fear into Unionism. The people they had labelled as terrorists demonstrated to the world that they were political prisoners with deeply held beliefs AND the world, outwith the two crazies Thatcher & Reagan, embraced them. There were global demonstrations and protests in sympathy with the Hunger Strikers and there are still streets around the world named after Bobby Sands. The DUP can’t be seen to be legitimising this or giving it any credence lest it shows what the Catholic people had to live and put up with. It also showed the real nature of Unionism/Loyalism as here were Republicans prepared to lay down their lives and tell their story. Unionism can’t hack that so the Maze is bulldozed. They are trying to wipe this from history so that visitors and tourists can’t see the truth and facts. It’s why they are denying the Irish Language official acknowledgement; they are cultural censors. Sinn Fein has suddenly woke up to this and are throwing a strop. Reality has dawned on Connolly House and they realise that they are in a set up where the DUP rules the roost and sets the agenda on EVERYTHING. It is just huff & puff and p*ssing against the wind from the Shinners because they were out negotiated, out thought and totally humiliated at St. Andrews. Mark Durkan said as much today and it’s hard to disagree with him. Maybe it’s time for Nationalists & Republicans to give the SDLP another chance because Sinn Fein are about as useful and as good as chocolate teapots, ashtrays on a motorbike and for our rural cousins, tits on a bull.

  • Jack the Master


    Spot on! Great post.


    Thanks Jack. As a Republican/Nationalist I have done a lot of soul searching myself this last while and can NO longer give unquestionable loyalty & support to a Sinn Fein heirarchy that has been played like a fiddle by the DUP. At times it has been very embarrassing & humiliating to watch. I always thought that Mark Durkan & the SDLP were trotting out the old rehearsed propoganda line that Sinn Fein was out manoeuvered & out negotiated by the DUP at St. Andrews and I bought into the Connolly House view that it was STOOP nonsense. As time has gone by I realise that the SDLP were indeed spot on and that Sinn Fein were bought & sold in Scotland. Now I know that they were more interested in negotiating for the Republican leadership and NOT the wider Republican/Nationalist community. The triple lock mechanism that Durkan warned about has kicked in as the DUP have a veto on ANY decision taken in the Assembly. The DUP TOTALLY set the entire Stormont agenda and have played Sinn Fein like a fiddle as the ENTIRE administration now runs at a Unionist pace. Adams & McGuinness are the monkeys dancing to the Unionist Organ Grinder, wee poodles jumping through Robinson hoops. If you were a Republican who lost his youth in prison & finds it hard to get work NOW it must be quite humiliating to watch.

  • 0b101010

    How about separating the International Centre for Conflict Transformation from the rest of the white elephant project.

    I personally think a shared stadium is an unnecessary luxury for the country and that the Maze is about the worst location for it in terms of convenience. I’m quite sure a lot of people would be happier if they earmarked more of our taxpayer money to building a real rapid transit system linking the site to the city centre, instead of that daft bus proposal floating about.

    It’d still be a white elephant, but at least it would be readily accessible.

  • ulsterfan

    Look for a compromise.
    Build the stadium at the Maze and put the conflict centre in one of the University campus such as Derry.
    Forget about a museum.

  • GavBelfast

    Poots and Donaldson, and others, as parish-pump Lagan Valley politicians, NEED a stadium at the Maze site – and to talk-up its supposed benefits – as a cover for their agreement to the overall “Maze Masterplan”, incorporating a site of homage to paramilitarism.

    No one in their right mind would have contemplated bulding a stadium in the virtual middle of nowhere, had it not been for the nessy political baggage that goes along with it.

    The sooner it is binned, officially, the better.

    Meanwhile if, as has been speculated, the likes of the RUAS and motorsport ARE enthusiastic about having facilities there, maybe that is a way out of all of this.

  • observer

    The people they had labelled as terrorists ……

    No really they were. Just a pity more didnt die.

  • fair_deal


    “The Maze was the place of the Hunger Strikes and that period struck real fear into Unionism.”

    The really sad thing is you genuinely believe that.

  • oneill

    “Well, we had hoped that if we had a national stadium then we might have hosted some of the events but I have to say that as time is marching on it looks increasingly unlikely, which is really sad.

    Operative word there is “might”. We “might” have got a preliminary round football game, if we had been lucky.

    Donaldson’s “commitment” to The Maze has depended on the prevailing mood in his party; say what you like about Poots he has been at least consistent in his support for the White Elephant, so much so that it probably cost him his job.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    I THINK when LURIG makes a POINT, WE should all be AS kind as WE possibly CAN BE. Personally, I think it’s MARVELOUS, QUITE MARVELOUS what he’s ABLE to do on HIS OWN, and we should applaud HIS efforts. AT the very LEAST, we SHOULD CERTAINLY put money in his TIN.

  • Dr Strangelove

    “We “might” have got a preliminary round football game, if we had been lucky.”

    oneill you are talking sense. Anyone who thinks that the British Govt / IOC would give any Olympic event of significance to NI is deranged.

    In fact, I would put money on there not being one Olypmic event held outside the home counties.

  • gram

    Dr Strangelove:In fact, I would put money on there not being one Olypmic event held outside the home counties.<

  • Paul

    GavBelfast / 0b101010,

    I find it hard to believe that some people are still peddling the lie that the Maze is not an ideal location for a shared stadium.

    Yes, the Maze is probably less convenient than Belfast for NI soccer fans, the majority of whom will, I guess, come from Belfast (a mere 11 miles away).

    The flip side is that the Maze is more convenient for GAA fans, who would probably be travelling a mean distance of at least 40 miles away, mainly from the west / south of Ulster.

    Then recall the actual Maze usage figures that the three sports bodies signed up to – 150k pa for the GAA, 80k for the IFA, and 40k pa for the IRFU.

    You can see clearly that the majority of those who will actually use the stadium will be GAA fans. The Maze will be a much more convenient location for them, given that they come from the south/west and won’t have the additional journey to, through, and from Belfast. At only 11 miles from Belfast, the Maze is not much of a hinderence to others.

    At the very least, you should qualify your statements to make clear that the Maze is less convenient for Belfast based NI soccer fans, ie a minority of those who will actually use the stadium.

    If all sports bodies behaved like the anti-Maze brigade, then the GAA would have insisted on Dungannon, the IFA on Windsor, and the IRFU on somewhere like Malone.
    To their credit, the sports bodies realised the need for compromise, and accepted the Maze as a suitable location.


    Turgon is nothing but a pseudo nationalist lundy. This is evident by his lack of unconditional support for the DUP

  • Realist

    “Yes, the Maze is probably less convenient than Belfast for NI soccer fans, the majority of whom will, I guess, come from Belfast”


    I think your guess would be wrong.

    Northern Ireland fans’ opposition to The Maze project extends far beyond Belfast based fans.

    Members of NI Supporters Clubs based in every county of Northern Ireland, and further afield, are oppossed to the venture.

  • Paul


    read carefully – I reckon that the majority of NI fans are probably Belfast based.
    Yes, some NI fans are obviously located outside Greater Belfast.
    Yes, some of these extra-Belfast NI soccer fans (a minority within a minority who would actually go any new stadium) don’t support the shared stadium at the Maze.
    Given that the Maze would be closer to most of them, I would surmise that other factors may be behind their opposition, eg 15k NI fans looking lost in a 35k seater stadium.

    Regardless, my point still remains the same – Most fans who will use any new shared stadium will be GAA ones.
    That’s not my reckoning – those are the figures that the three sporting bodies signed up to for the Maze stadium.

    Gaelic games will supply 150,000 bums on seat per annum, NI soccer 80,000, and Ulster Rugby 40,000.
    You don’t have to be Carol Vorderman’s love child to establish from these figures that most people using the shared stadium would be gaelic football fans.
    The vast majority of gaelic football fans are located to the west/south of Ulster. For these fans, the Maze is irrefutably more convenient, for they won’t have to travel further down the M1, battle through city traffic, and then have to do it all again.

    On this basis, I say it’s clear that the Maze IS actually more convenient for the majority of people who will actually use the shared stadium.

  • GavBelfast

    For “shared” read “contrived”.

    It is no place for a durable, successful stadium to be built.

    It is irrefutable that this location would be contemplated at all if it wasn’t for the messy background and add-ons.

    Logic and some political guesstimates point to it being binned, on financial grounds, but the official death-knell can’t come soon enough.

  • Realist


    “read carefully – I reckon that the majority of NI fans are probably Belfast based”

    I did read what you said carefully – I reckon that the majority of Northern Ireland fans (who attend matches) are from outside of Belfast.

    I’m well aware of the figures you quote, but that misses the point.

    Northern Ireland fans are interested in what’s best for them and the Northern Ireland team.

    The Maze does not fit the bill.