30/06/2009

Sammy 'Publicity Seeking' On Long Kesh

A Lisburn Assemblyman has slammed the NI Environment Minister's review of listed structures at Long Kesh as a 'publicity stunt'.

Sinn Féin's Paul Butler accused Sammy Wilson (pictured) of publicity seeking over moves to review the listed status of the buildings at the former Maze prison.

Mr Wilson earlier said he had asked the Environment Agency to carry out a further review of the listing and potential for delisting on this site.

Speaking this afternoon, Mr Butler said: "The reality is that Mr Wilson's predecessor as Environment Minister had already requested and received that same advice.
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"It is worth noting that Sammy is running against the Office of the First and deputy First Minister, who actually own the site, and therefore his own party leader, who on the 8 April 2009 recognised the historic significance of this site."

The MLA continued: "Is Sammy seriously suggesting that there is no historical, reconciliation or indeed tourism potential with the maintenance of these buildings?

"If this is the case then it is worrying given the portfolio that Mr Wilson is about to undertake."

Mr Butler said Sinn Féin would ensure the listed buildings are maintained in order to "utilise the historic, economic and reconciliation potential that goes along with the site".

The site was previously earmarked for a multi-million pound national sports stadium, which Sports Minister Gregory Campbell officially scrapped earlier this year.

(PR/JM)

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