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Resistance to innovative Long Kesh/Maze project exposed

6 June, 2008


Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff, who is the Chairperson of the Assembly Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee, has said that the comments of the Culture Minister Edwin Poots highlighting resistance to the Long Kesh/Maze project from the civil service confirm what republicans have been saying for some time.

Mr McElduff said:

"If Edwin Poots has these concern about civil service attempts to undermine the innovative Long Kesh/Maze project then he should have brought them forward to the committee at a much earlier stage. He should have also come forward with his departmental decision at an earlier stage.

"This project, bringing together all of the main sporting organisations and creating an international centre for the study of conflict transformation is not just innovative but has the potential to leverage in £1 billion in investment and create 6,000 jobs.

"This should not be undermined as an exciting opportunity not least for the multi-use sports stadium

"Sinn Féin believe that resistance from both within the senior levels of the civil service and some unionists has attempted to undermine this project and particularly tried to demonise the International Centre for Conflict Transformation (ICCT) for some time.

"Any resistance from within the civil service should be faced down. Local politicians are in charge of the decision making process not civil servants. The prevarication and indecision of some unionists has of course helped to create a vacuum. We now need a decision. And it should not be one clouded by narrow political short-sightedness." ENDS

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