Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“I am outraged to discover by way of a written answer from OFMdFM that £260,000 has been wasted on maintain the ugly prison buildings at the Maze.
“It is scandalous that such a sum has been squandered on maintaining buildings which, as numerous DUP politicians have pointed out in the past, will inevitably become a shrine to Republican terrorism.
“The First Ministers claim that they are merely fulfilling their “statutory obligations” but there are many beautiful listing buildings in Northern Ireland which have nothing like that sum spent on them. One has only to look at the dilapidated state of Craigavon House – which is a building of immense historical importance to the history of Northern Ireland and its founding – to see that the Maze is evidently receiving gold standard treatment. Why? Because the Maze prison buildings and hospital wing are hallowed ground as far as Republicans are concerned.
“It is also interesting that the Office of the First Ministers did not take such a robust approach to their “statutory obligations” to consult with interested parties about the so-called “Peace Centre” at the Maze site. While OFMdFM had multiple meetings with ex-prisoners groups not once did they seek the views of an innocent victims’ group.
“This is a scandalous state of affairs. There are many hospitals and schools needing maintenance where this money could have been better spent.
“Yet again we see that there is no end of finance for the pet projects of the political class while ordinary people are told that they need to tighten their belts and funding is not there for frontline services such as care homes.”
Note to editors
Mr Allister’s question and the reply received are as follows:
To ask the First Minister and deputy First Minister how much has been spent on the former prison buildings at the Maze since 2007.
From 2007 to date the amount spent on maintaining the former prison buildings to fulfil our statutory obligations is approximately £260k.