I remember the building of Poleglass, mostly because I was working at NIE at the time the first residents were moving in and the plans for the new developments passed through the offices I was working in.
The plans for it were subject to a huge political push back, particularly from Unionist politicians in Lisburn who feared (rightly as it happened) that its proximity to West Belfast would bring in a huge influx of nationalists into the then Borough.
So it’s interesting that Jim Allister invokes the name of Poleglass as his rallying call against the possibility of new builds on the Maze site:
I fear the ‘cold house for unionist house buyers’ persona which will brand the site will even affect the anticipated housing development and in consequence we will see what in time will be the new Poleglass of Lisburn emerge at the Maze.
It’s caused some irritation to his former colleagues in the DUP, not least because in the current climate, the development of any housing, public or private on the site is likely to be a very long way off. But more germane to the Allister’s argument, where are all these nationalists going to come from?
And will the place’s past really exercise that much influence over the choice of future generations? And is there any the scope of OFMdFM’s CSI strategy (which is currently awaiting further work-shopping – this time, without the direct aid of the two governments) to prevent further ghettoisation of new housing?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty