22/05/2008

Sinn Fein Reaffirm Maze 'Veto'

The DUP can expect a Sinn Fein to block any plans to axe a Northern Ireland national stadium at the site of the former Maze prison.

The party's announcement, earlier this week, was met with SDLP fears of a lost opportunity for reconciliation.

Sinn Fein questioned the figures detailed in the economic appraisal for the site, on which the final decision will be based. The party has insisted the stadium will not be located anywhere else.

MLA Paul Butler said he believed there was a notion that the DUP are "running things", but suggested Executive agreement must be met before any plans are put through.

Mr Bulter said: "It has been clear for some time that Peter Robinson is against the [Maze] project and he is now just finding figures and arguments to justify that."

The Lagan Valley Assembly member will challenge claims that a stadium, at the Maze, could only be filled twice a year.

The SDLP's Declan O'Loan said he expected a "considerable row" around the Executive table on the issue, which he predicts will split along unionist and nationalist lines.

Mr O'Loan told the Belfast Telegraph: "This is what everything has been building up to. It will be a major lost opportunity, not least in the area of investment, but in terms of the loss of a stadium shared by the three main sports and the symbol that could be for reconciliation."

Chief Executive of the IFA, Howard Wells, said the Government needs to recognise the needs for a Plan B, as a new stadium will be required within two years.

Sir Reg Empey, leader of the UUP, said a proposed conflict transformation centre at the Maze needed to be "separated out" from the plans.

Last week, Finance Minister Peter Robinson received the official assessment of the Maze as a viable site; sources say costs detailed in the proposal are now much greater that originally expected.

See: Robinson Presented With 'Inflated' Maze Assessment

(PR/JM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 May 2018
Housing Executive Urged To Clarify Tower Block Proposals
Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Carál Ní Chuilín has written to the Chief Executive of the Housing Executive Board seeking clarity on their plans for Tower Blocks in north Belfast. The North Belfast MLA said: "There are 33 Tower blocks across the north, seven of which are in the New Lodge area of North Belfast.
19 May 2008
RUAS Eyes-Up Maze For 'Balmoral' Show
Last week's highly successful Royal Ulster Agricultural Society 'Balmoral Show' may have been the last to be held at the historic south Belfast location.
15 March 2019
Plans To Transform Ballymena Barracks Progress
Plans for the regeneration of St. Patrick's Barracks in Ballymena have moved a step closer after planning approval was granted for the former military base. Up to 140 homes, a £30 million leisure, health and well-being centre and a new road network are among the proposals for the Department for Communities led scheme.
08 April 2009
Maze Stadium Plan Officially 'Dead'
The Maze Stadium plan is officially cancelled. The Stormont Executive's First Minister and Deputy First Minister today announced that the mooted MLK Masterplan won't now proceed in its original proposed form.
13 June 2008
Maze Stadium Plan 'A Winner' Says Former Minister
Locating Northern Ireland's national stadium at the former Maze prison site is the only worthy option - according to a former NI Executive Minister. Edwin Poots, speaking for the first time since being replaced as Arts and Culture Minister, does not believe he had lost his job because of his support for the controversial Maze stadium project.