Responding to Gerry Kelly who tweeted “Happy 30th anniversary of the Great Escape 1983 from Long Kesh H Blocks to all those involved” TUV leader Jim Allister said:
“There was nothing “great” about the IRA breakout from the Maze in 1983. In fact it was an event which caused immense heartache to the family of James Ferris who was injured in the breakout and later died of a heart attack.
“Many will recall how Gerry Kelly gleefully recounted on a documentary some years ago how he had shot a prison officer in the head.
“Quite simply there was nothing “great” about the IRA escape from HMP Maze. They were criminals who bore no resemblance to the Allied POWs who escaped from Stalag Luft III in 1944. While Republicans like Kelly might long to be viewed in the same light as Allied servicemen who fought Nazism and helped to free Europe the reality is that Kelly and the other IRA prisoners in the Maze were grubby terrorists who brought nothing but death and suffering to our Province.
“This celebration of terror by Kelly is a timely reminder of what Republicans would do if they had the platform of the Maze.”