Quote of the week…

Newton Emerson, in today’s Irish News, not for the first time gets maximum points for stating the bleeding obvious that no one will…

The real danger is that the Maze will be so balanced that it becomes anodyne, although to to paraphrase Danny Morrison you only have to attract a tourist once, so you do not have to be interesting all the time.

As for the doomed [I tell you!] assembly motion by the UUP, TUV and UKIP, it would serve victims of terrorism better to get their stories on display instead of using them to embarrass the DUP.

  • tacapall

    TUV, UUP, Orange Order hypocrisy.

    Speaking with one voice –

    Mr Huchinson received loud applause when he said that “if anybody thinks that the unionist forum wasn’t used to get rid of the flag protesters…and about shutting me and Jim Allister up, they’re living on cloud cuckoo land”.

    Mr Hutchinson, who murdered two Roman Catholic men walking to work in 1974, said that the flag protest “is still out there” and called for future protests: “I think that at City Hall on the night that council is meeting there should be a number of people there for a lawful protest, just to let those people inside the hall know that this hasn’t gone away”.

    “Jim Wilson from the ‘Red Hand Comrades’ said that the strategy for returning the flag should be “register to vote and get the Alliance Party out wherever they are”.

    “A middle -aged woman who had been heckling was given a microphone and she asked why the DUP and UUP were “sitting in government with murderers”.


    The above although nothing to do with the Maze site nevertheless shows the hypocrisy of those who are falling over themselves to object to the tourism center.

    It seems in the eyes of Unionism, one mans terrorist is another’s political partner.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    I went on one of the Maze tours in 2011 which was arranged through a Loyalist ex-prisoners group. We had to be discreet and weren’t allowed to take photos as, at the time, Robinson and McGuinness had an agreement that no tours would take place (apparently the site is controlled by OFMDFM). I presume this was because Robinson feared the backlash of photos or videos leaking out of IRA supporters paying homage to Jimmy Sands or something similar.

    The tour guide was an ex-Provo prisoner and it was very obvious his ‘commentary’ for a Loyalist group of visitors was vastly different to his usual spiel dished out to the various Irish American, Free State and IRA supporting mobs who make up the 95% of visiting parties. He still managed to get in that all prison officers were all alcoholic bigots who hated catholics and enjoyed beating them up for fun. (One of the Loyalists in the group recounted his own stories of being beaten which seemed to shut him up)

    Anyway, my point is that these tours are going on at present almost every day of the week. They are facilitated and arranged by IRA supporting ex-prisoner and community groups and are hosted by an ex-IRA prisoner. You can be 100% certain that any visiting groups from an Irish/catholic/nationalist background and those of a neutral persuasion from other countries are being given the full IRA propaganda treatment on these tours.

    The place should be flattened and any peace centre built on Crumlin Road where investment, tourists and jobs are really needed.

    Why not built a new fully integrated, cross community social housing development on the site of The Maze? 50/50 protestant and catholic residents with integrated primary and secondary schools. That would be a far better peace legacy for the site.

  • DC

    The Maze, in line with Willie Frazer’s concerns, could be turned into something like this:


    Except below replace ‘communist’ with ‘unionist’ and ‘GDR’ with ‘six counties’ and you get the drift!

    The Memorial’s charter specifically entrusts it with the task of researching the history of the Hohenschönhausen prison between 1945 and 1989, supplying information via exhibitions, events and publications, and encouraging a critical awareness of the methods and consequences of political persecution and suppression in the communist dictatorship. The former Stasi remand prison is also intended to provide insight into the workings of the GDR’s political justice system.

    Since the vast majority of the buildings, equipment and furniture and fittings have survived intact, the Memorial provides a very authentic picture of prison conditions in the GDR. The Memorial’s location in Germany’s capital city makes it the key site in Germany for victims of communist tyranny.

    In 2010 332,000 people visited the Memorial and over half of these visitors were students. Tours of the prison are usually led by former inmates, who provide first-hand details on prison conditions and the interrogation methods employed by the GDR’s Ministry of State Security (MfS).

    Mind you the visitor numbers could be a money-spinner and helpful to the NI economy…

  • Granni Trixie

    The reason I am against the so called peace centre is that although we badly need a process for storytelling etc the symbolism of locating the stories there will place 1981 in the centre of the narrative. When some say that “all” sides of the story will be told they mean those of prison workers as well as inmates . What of the stories of ordinary people outside …many experienced intimidation and the impact of a terrible atmosphere not to mention those killed or maimed and their loved ones.

    For years I have wondered why there was so much support by political parties for the Maze Peace Centre as to me it is turkeys voting for Christmas. Is it that a deal was done with SF to support something else? I mean just why is the centre being viewed as an essential part of the whole package? Why has the DUP agreed to detain the H blocks? I feel sure there is a story there which we have not heard.

  • Granni Trixie

    Oops typo…detail ought to read retain. Sorry.

  • Don’t know Granni, but like everyone else (I think) who has ever visited San Francisco, I went over to see Alcatraz and willing spent the entrance fee.

  • BluesJazz

    The only visitors will be to see the shrine to Saint Bobby. Robinson is only thinking of how much money from ‘developers’ he can backpocket.
    Unless there is a squadron of Spitfires on site it’s hard to see any thing else.
    All the bollox about conference rooms and resolution rooms is gibberish, ‘a shrine to peace’ ???
    The DUP only see money for themselves and SF need a temple for ‘the struggle’.
    Of course when the white elephant is built, Robbo will be in Florida.

  • Barnshee

    Its simple really– list each prisoner + what he /she did

    Bobby Sands jailed for blowing up -er furniture shops starved himself to death. Republicans voluntarily smeared the walls with their shit.

    The opportunity to redicule the inmates is endless

  • BluesJazz

    Fair enough Barnshee
    But the truth will be hidden behind a wall of ‘they hunger for justice’ bullshit. And Robinson will buy it if he gets financial reward in return.
    The only losers being the real victims. But they can’t vote so they are written out of the narrative.
    Robinson, McGuinness, Adams and Paisley want to be seen as ‘peacemakers’. The fact that they facilitaded /ordered sectarian murders is airbrushed from the narrative.

  • Reader

    Granni Trixie: Oops typo…detail ought to read retain. Sorry.
    To complete the set, try “retail”.

  • DC

    I wonder if i can interest Ulster Press Centre in seeking out rental of 10 JCBs and two bulldozers and setting out for Lisburn..?

    Why not built a new fully integrated, cross community social housing development on the site of The Maze? 50/50 protestant and catholic residents with integrated primary and secondary schools. That would be a far better peace legacy for the site.

    Or around the wider Belfast area integrate a number of schools and public services and identify savings that could go towards a nice new tram system, there needs to be something physical something that can be seen and used by everyone, the kiddies tram system, our kids have made this place better. A gift to the people of belfast from our kids, sharing has made this place better, look at just how easily you can get around town – a lasting legacy to peace.

    A nice little narrative to have:

    Tourist: well, tell me how the tram system came about?

    Tour Guide:Well…you see it came about as a result of a number of schools recognising that by working together and integrating the money saved could go towards something that could benefit everyone in the city, it was like the future generation putting something back through peace…etc etc

    Tourist: Uck, that is such a fantastic uplifting story!!!

  • DC

    Tour Guide:It is just that – we wanted to show that by integrating our schools and public services that we could not only integrate mindsets, but actually integrate the city, and there’s no better physical proof of that than this new tram system.

  • FDM

    Mr. Churchill told us that “history is written by the victors”.

    Is that why the protestant nationalist contribution to the Maze site is the thin end of the wedge? Is the angst we see in the thread above the realisation that OMG the rest of the world is going to know as well?


  • Mick Fealty

    Just to note, as Newt rightly points out, as long as the process is rigorous, it will be at least the start of a place to start telling genuine stories.

  • antamadan

    Agree Mick, Real history can come out and really help understandings- even though there will always be perspecitve. By the way, how about Mapping Ulster on BBC1 last night. Absolutely excellent, I thought; but I’d imagine it wouldn’t tie with more partisian views of history often seen on blogs.