28/05/2013 Spotlight


28/05/2013

Investigating stories affecting life in Northern Ireland. Simon Boazman reports on the controversial plans to develop the former Maze Prison site.


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Transcript


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Who has actually asked for a shrine to terrorism to be constructed at

:00:10.:00:13.

the Maze? Nobody! Martin hasn't. Martin has made it very clear that

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he doesn't want a shrine to terrorism, he wants a shrine to

:00:16.:00:26.
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for the Maze prison site, designed to show the world how far we've

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come, so why can't we agree what to put in it? Here history is live and

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contested and can often be used as a stick to beat your opponents with.

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The First Minister says he will have the final say on what goes

:00:47.:00:50.

inside the buildings, but can that stop the old prison, where Bobby

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Sands the hunger striker died over 30 years ago, becoming a shrine to

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Republican terrorism? As Jeffrey Donaldson said that the name of

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Bobby Sands will not even be mentioned, that's so farcical that

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no one should believe it. Many victims remain unconvinced that it

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would become a shrine. It will become a shrine. They should have

:01:14.:01:23.
:01:24.:02:00.

This year, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society moved its show

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to its new home outside Lisburn and it proved a hit, with record

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numbers attending the three-day event. You could almost forget what

:02:09.:02:17.

this place used to be. Bringing the show here to the site of the former

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Maze Prison is the first move in one of the biggest redevelopments

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in Europe, with the potential to provide a major economic boost.

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You've got 347 acres here, so you're talking about something

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that's twice the size of the Titanic Quarter and four times the

:02:32.:02:42.
:02:42.:02:52.

We're talking about a target of over 5,000 jobs. We're talking

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about an investment of about �300 million so pretty significant stuff.

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The success of the new Balmoral Show here at its new site and this

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is exactly what those in Stormont have in mind for this place, But

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perhaps the success of this whole project lies with the decision of

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what to do with the old prison buildings behind me, and the

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divisions that this is causing not just in government but amongst

:03:10.:03:13.

victims. There will be industrial areas and office complexes, but at

:03:13.:03:16.

the the heart of the project are plans for an �18 million building

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dedicated to peace, with plans to utilise what remains of the prison,

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just 30 metres away. The go-ahead was given last month, and that re-

:03:23.:03:26.

ignited a bitter row over the project. I set off to find out if

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one of the most divisive sites in Northern Ireland is the right place

:03:29.:03:34.

to put a building dedicicated to reconcilliation. And, given the

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site's history, will it inevitably become a shrine to terrorism?

:03:41.:03:44.

The Maze began life as an internment camp called Long Kesh

:03:44.:03:50.

with Nissen huts initially housing the prisoners in 1971. For the next

:03:50.:03:53.

29 years, it was the scene of some of the Troubles' most defining

:03:53.:03:58.

moments. Protest and murder took place wtihin its walls. But it will

:03:58.:04:01.

always be strongly associated with the hunger strikes of the 1980s, in

:04:01.:04:08.

which 10 Republican prisoners died. Raymond McCartney was 17 when he

:04:08.:04:13.

was first imprisoned in the Maze. In 1979 he joined the dirty protest,

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demanding the right to be treated as a political prisoner. He

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remembers the call going out two years later for volunteers to

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escalate the protest to a hunger strike. It was spelt out in

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explicit terms what hunger strike could and would mean, and I

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remember making the decision, doing a lot of soul searching, asking

:04:33.:04:37.

questions of myself, I volunteered my name that I felt that I felt

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that the decision was the right one to make, and also it was a personal

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one which I wanted to make, as well. We are prepared to die to prove

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that we are special prisoners. spent 53 days on hunger strike.

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Without food, his body began to shut down. You found that your

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ability to focus your eyes, it wasn't so much that your eye sight

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failed, but your ability to hold your eyes and focus was

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deteriorating because the muscles around your eyes were obviously

:05:07.:05:11.

wasting. That meant then that your eyes weren't in full control.

:05:11.:05:15.

Wanting to get up out of bed became... You know, you were

:05:15.:05:18.

comfortable lying in bed, whereas your instinct would have been

:05:18.:05:24.

normally up to do a bit of walking about. By the end of the hunger

:05:24.:05:28.

strikes, 10 men had starved themselves to death. The first to

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die was 27-year-old Bobby Sands. The story of the hunger strikes

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reverberated around the world. For Raymond McCartney, this makes it

:05:40.:05:44.

the ideal spot to build a peace center. Many of us see it as part

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of our lives. You take into consideration the impact that the

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hunger strike had on the wider political situation in Ireland and

:05:49.:05:52.

abroad, therefore, to us, it's just something that's a historical site

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and should be preserved. But what about the victims of the

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Troubles? I wanted to find out what they thought about the Maze as a

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location to build peace. On the 5th January, 1976, Bea Worton's son

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Kenneth was one of 12 men travelling home from work when

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their minibus was ambushed in Kingsmills in County Armagh by

:06:13.:06:23.
:06:23.:06:25.

Republican paramilitaries. I was cooking the dinner in the kitchen.

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Then some lady came in from a nearby house. She had heard more in

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the news than us. She said, "Bea, will you not get up and go up the

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road, for your son is lying dead?". That is her exact words she said.

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That's the exact words she said to me. He was 24 and he had two wee

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girls. One of them was only three and the other one was six. The wee

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one at three had his table set for him coming home from his work -

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knife, fork and spoon. In the paper the next day there was: "Daddy

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Didn't Come Home". Colin Worton was only 15 when his

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brother Kenneth was killed. He was great and I think you always want

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to end up like your older brother. I was robbed of actually seeing,

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because I was still a child myself The pain and sense of loss has

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never left them It made me, at 15 years of age, hate somebody I

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didn't know. What did it achieve? Nothing. It only achieved that we

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have an empty seat and this... It is eating away at us like cancer.

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No-one has ever been convicted for the Kingsmills Massacre, but hunger

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striker Raymond McCreesh was later caught with a weapon linked to the

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attack Colin believes putting the peace site at the Maze would become

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a shrine to those involved in his brother's murder. We are totally

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opposed to anything to be left. The H-Block, Hospital Wing or whatever

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else they have. Totally opposed. They should have flattened the

:08:02.:08:12.
:08:12.:08:18.

whole lot of it. I do feel it will During the decades the prison was

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open, it was often seen as a microcosom of the Troubles -

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marking moments of turmoil and the move towards peace. Its doors

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finally closed in 2000 and they have remained so ever since. For

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some Unionist critics of the planned peace building, the site

:08:30.:08:39.

will be a permanent insult to those bereaved in the Troubles. It will

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be a place where people gather to exalt in and to glorify in what

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those who were rightfully in that prison did and to totally ignore

:08:45.:08:48.

why they were in prison and the crimes they committed and the

:08:49.:08:58.
:08:59.:09:03.

stream of victims they left behind them. I don't think any of us want

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to glorify anything. No Republican wants that to happen, all we want

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to happen on that site is that people are allowed to tell the

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history of the site, no glory. Because when we look back, in

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conflict there is no glory. What we should do is reflect on the pain,

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the suffering, the sacrifice and allow people then to reflect on

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that. Jim Allister has organised a petition to try and overturn the

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plans to locate the peace centre at the Maze and argues what's left of

:09:28.:09:33.

the prison buildings, which are listed, should be flattened. Well,

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if we need a Peace and Reconciliation Centre - and that's

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maybe a debate on its own. But, if we do - let me accept that we do

:09:41.:09:45.

for a moment - why would you ever build on the most divisive site you

:09:45.:09:50.

can find in Northern Ireland? By choosing to site it cheek-by-jowl

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with the prison buildings, you're guaranteeing to tarnish the

:09:52.:10:00.

building, to blight it and to taint it with the history of the site.

:10:00.:10:03.

who decided on the current plan? Unionists blame each other,

:10:03.:10:08.

particularly over the listed status over the retained prison buildings.

:10:08.:10:14.

The UUP go so far as suggesting a DUP - Sinn Fein deal. It does

:10:14.:10:18.

appear that the DUP's stance on the Maze changed in 2007, the very year

:10:18.:10:23.

that Ian Paisley sat down with Gerry Adams and did a deal. Now we

:10:23.:10:27.

know that they sat down publicly together. They obviously must of

:10:27.:10:32.

sat down privately together or a least on behalf of the two parties.

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What I would like to know is what they agreed behind the scenes with

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regard to the development of the Maze. Well, that simply isn't true.

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I have been involved in this issue right throughout and I can assure

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you that at no stage did the DUP withdraw their opposition to the

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listed building. Well, in 2007, the proposal from Sinn Fein, UUP and

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SDLP was to put the peace centre into the retained buildings. We

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vetoed that. When we took control of OFMDFM, we said that isn't going

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to happen and we held the line until the other parties changed

:11:02.:11:12.
:11:12.:11:17.

Deal or no deal, one commentator says, for Republicans, the legacy

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of the hunger strikes is non- negotiable. This is something which

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had to be done to give the rank and file of the Republican movement,

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and particularly and specifically the rank and file of the IRA who

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fought the war, they had to be given a stake in what has come out

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of their struggle. Academic Kris Brown says all those with vested

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interests in the Maze development are mindful of the sensitivities in

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their own heartlands. Here, as in common with other divided societies,

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history is live and contested and can often be used as a stick to

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beat your opponents with. It can used as a valuable resource in the

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peace process, not simply to wield over the other community, but also

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within your own community. For example, mainstream Republicans

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would be very concerned about dissident groups hijacking the

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memory of the hunger strikers, if you like. They would be fearful if

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they were to abandon the memory of Irish Republican armed struggle

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that it won't simply be forgotten about - it will be picked up by

:12:24.:12:34.
:12:34.:12:37.

spoiler groups, dissident groups, project have been hard to get hold

:12:37.:12:40.

of and for some this has increased speculation of a secret deal.

:12:40.:12:43.

the last few months, Unionists opposing the Maze development say

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they've asked for information about the site including details of what

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consultation took place and what other locations were considered for

:12:48.:12:51.

the peace building. They say, they've had no satisfactory answers

:12:51.:13:01.
:13:01.:13:02.

as yet. Over the last couple of weeks we have also requested

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information on the site - we received no detailed response - but

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the office of the First and Deputy First Minister told us they have

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consulted with the victims sector. They said the process has been

:13:13.:13:23.
:13:23.:13:24.

transparent but that some detail is commercially confidential. I put in

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a request to go on to the site, to see where the new peace building is

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going to be and take a look at what's left of the prison buildings.

:13:31.:13:34.

But the fact that this publicly owned land - and funded by Europe

:13:34.:13:39.

-we still haven't got a response to our request. So, at the moment, this

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is as close as I can get to the site of a building that is meant to bring

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us closer together. It is over there somewhere. There it is. For some,

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the reason we struggle to bring communities closer together is at

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the very heart of what's wrong with the peace agreement itself. There is

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still a huge job that needs to be done to assist Northern Ireland to

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come to terms with its past. Where is the debate about what forgiveness

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means? About tolerance? About how we can learn to live together with

:14:18.:14:28.
:14:28.:14:32.

former enemies in peace. It is quite clearly an us and them Government.

:14:32.:14:42.
:14:42.:14:46.

Every single thing needs to be scheme. The unstated strategy of

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some of those involved in these negotiations has been fudged your

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way to freedom. But the fudging doesn't settle anything, fudging by

:14:59.:15:02.

its nature doesn't clarify anything, i think that what we have got up

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here is a settlement which is based on permanent negotiations, permanent

:15:05.:15:08.

disagreement. Its never going to reach an end point. There is never

:15:08.:15:12.

going to be a point where both the DUP and Sinn Fein are going to say,

:15:12.:15:14.

there, there is the finished article. Inside this apparent

:15:14.:15:20.

fudge, and agreements to disagree. A process that at its worst just opens

:15:20.:15:30.
:15:30.:15:36.

hierarchy of victims I don't agree with it but there is actually a

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hierarchy?. Once you make this moral point and say the man who pulls the

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trigger is exactly the same as the man who's brain the bullet went

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through, you've debased all of politics, you've debased morality,

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you've undermined democracy. There is a hierarchy of victims in

:15:50.:15:53.

northern ireland that there have been people who have died in the war

:15:53.:15:55.

or conflict here that nobody particularly wants to remember?..

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You know, sometimes when we are debating the hunger strikers who

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died?.or the Bloody Sunday people. , people who died in the Shankill

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bomb, or Enniskillen. You have to wonder sometimes what the thoughts

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are of somebody who lost one person, who lost a brother or a son, are

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they supposed just to stand at their door and listen to all this and then

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go in quietly and nurse their grief on their own. Some people do, a lot

:16:25.:16:35.
:16:35.:16:39.

of people do, but its not fair, its their family's story has been

:16:39.:16:49.
:16:49.:16:54.

embarrassment, any innocent victim out there that have suffered like we

:16:54.:16:56.

have suffered, catholic and protestant, is an embarrassment they

:16:56.:17:00.

have got their minds made up. will stick to it. They don't care.

:17:00.:17:10.
:17:10.:17:15.

Full. As long as they don't suffer, building will elevate some dead - at

:17:15.:17:25.
:17:25.:17:30.

from planet Mars and you landed and you spent a week listening to radio

:17:30.:17:32.

and watching TV reading the newspapers you would be forgiven for

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concluding that only about twenty people died during the troubles.

:17:35.:17:38.

Thirteen of them on a particular day in Londonderry in the early

:17:38.:17:41.

seventies and those were the victims of Bloody Sunday. And a few others

:17:41.:17:44.

high profile cases. But three and a half thousand plus people died. Tens

:17:44.:17:47.

of thousands have been affected with physical and mental health issues

:17:47.:17:51.

and they are largely forgotten. it would be wrong to think that all

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victims' families oppose the redevelopment at the Maze. Alan

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McBride's wife was killed in 1993 in the Shankill Road bomb. Their

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feelings have to be taken on board. But they have mixed feelings. There

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are victims out there who undoubtedly would never go near the

:18:11.:18:15.

Maze Prison. There are others who have said they would gladly go

:18:15.:18:24.

there. I think we have to find an accommodation. But we'll all stories

:18:24.:18:30.

be told? The first and deputy First Minister effectively have a veto

:18:30.:18:40.
:18:40.:18:42.

body says there is more autonomy than something. When I first met

:18:42.:18:48.

with them, they talked about the independence of the development

:18:48.:18:53.

corporation, it is an arm's-length body. The corporation owned the

:18:53.:18:58.

land, so it is our sponsored ability to develop it. But against those

:18:59.:19:02.

parameters that were set down by the first and Deputy first and were

:19:02.:19:09.

enshrined at the beginning. It does not sound very independent? You have

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to accept that when you are independent, it does not mean you

:19:12.:19:16.

are completely independent of life. There will always be people you

:19:16.:19:23.

report to. For some, it's inevitable that the first and Deputy First

:19:23.:19:27.

Minister decided to have control over the development. I think it is

:19:27.:19:32.

arguably the last thing you should ask to run this place. Out of the

:19:32.:19:38.

nominees. On the other hand, being realistic, given what is happening

:19:38.:19:45.

in Northern Ireland, I don't doubt that that was the first and only

:19:45.:19:52.

idea that the powers that be had. Let's have them run this place,

:19:52.:19:59.

let's have Sinn Fein and the DUP share this out, after all, they're

:19:59.:20:02.

sharing everything else out, why shouldn't they share out the maze

:20:02.:20:09.

Long Kesh. The Alex Kane, having control over

:20:09.:20:16.

the project is key. He knows that for a core part of his audience,

:20:16.:20:20.

they will see this as a shrine and them to what he says, they will see

:20:20.:20:26.

it as a shrine. It almost like a sane, trust me, trust me with this.

:20:26.:20:31.

I think the problem they both face is that they are key constituencies

:20:31.:20:34.

that are disconnecting with them. It is remarkable they've managed to

:20:34.:20:39.

keep the whole process stumbling along. Chris Brown believes that

:20:39.:20:44.

providing a yes or no option or an on or off switch could threaten the

:20:44.:20:50.

success of the site. Everyone realises how difficult these

:20:50.:21:00.
:21:00.:21:04.

histories can be to tell within an put in place to try and deal with

:21:04.:21:09.

that. It does not generally involve giving a switch to a political

:21:09.:21:14.

leadership from a party whether it is Unionist or Republican. Jeffrey

:21:14.:21:18.

Donaldson was clear about invoking that yes or no option in a radio

:21:18.:21:22.

interview. There would be someone they're saying this is where Bobby

:21:22.:21:32.
:21:32.:21:35.

that world eulogise their hunger strikers, whoever they may be, no

:21:35.:21:39.

matter how notorious they are. We have listened to the victims, unlike

:21:39.:21:44.

others. That is why the new peace Centre will not be in the listed

:21:44.:21:50.

buildings. Jeffrey Donaldson said that the name of Bobby Sands will

:21:50.:21:53.

not be even mention. That's so farcical that no one should believe

:21:53.:21:58.

it. It would be like telling the history of Manchester United without

:21:58.:22:06.

George Best. Sands and the hunger strikers will obviously feature. The

:22:06.:22:12.

important thing is to ensure that other voices are there. Alan McBride

:22:12.:22:16.

says we must respect each other's stories and that is something that

:22:16.:22:22.

is not always apparent. If there is a debate around some issue, whether

:22:22.:22:26.

its flags, whether it is the prison, they are very quickly go back into

:22:26.:22:30.

their own camps and where they are coming from and so I sometimes

:22:30.:22:37.

wonder is it all at face value, is there any depth to the sort of

:22:37.:22:42.

pursuit for priests. But its not just families of victims who have

:22:42.:22:50.

opposing views. Former prisoners from both sides do too. Anthony

:22:51.:22:53.

McIntyre, aFormer Republican prisoner, now a critic of Sinn Fein,

:22:53.:22:57.

is fearful of what he see's as the legacy of the hunger strikers Being

:22:57.:23:07.
:23:07.:23:13.

Sinn Fein halal Bobby Sands to be airbrushed out. I think it would

:23:13.:23:17.

confirm the staters of Martin McGuinness, because he would have

:23:17.:23:23.

meant a little more than Deputy dog. I mean have things gone so bad that

:23:23.:23:28.

be Sands will be next described as some sort of mistake and criminal?

:23:28.:23:33.

Former loyalist prisoner Billy Hutchison believes the prison will

:23:33.:23:43.
:23:43.:23:43.

become a shrine. I think it would be madness to open that site as some

:23:43.:23:47.

sort of museum or anything else, because they are not going to stop

:23:47.:23:57.
:23:57.:23:57.

it being a shrine, no matter what agreement you get, it will happen.

:23:57.:24:00.

don't mean to sound twee or you know cliche about this but the shrine

:24:00.:24:04.

that I want to see to the guys who died there is the new agreed Ireland

:24:04.:24:07.

that they died for basically. It's not some building outside Lisburn

:24:07.:24:15.

you know that's not what they died for. Billy Hutchinson's is also

:24:15.:24:18.

worried the role that Loyalist played in the prison will be totally

:24:18.:24:28.
:24:28.:24:28.

oveshadowed. Not only has the history being rewritten and we have

:24:28.:24:32.

had this revisionism and we are going to have it in the is and you

:24:32.:24:36.

know it's bad enough having to listen to people who tell me how

:24:36.:24:43.

they won the peace and revised all of this. Like many of his

:24:43.:24:48.

counterparts, he feels any attempt to ban the mention of the hunger

:24:48.:24:54.

strikes will fail. How do you hold back on answering questions to

:24:54.:25:04.
:25:04.:25:09.

tourists or anybody else who knows about the Sands? -- Bobby Sands.

:25:09.:25:13.

when any story about what happened at the maze is finally agreed for

:25:13.:25:18.

tourists to hear, will anyone want to go? To find out, I hit the

:25:18.:25:25.

tourist trail. I think it would be an interesting tour. What would be

:25:25.:25:31.

the kind of thing you would want to see? Again, trying better to

:25:31.:25:38.

understand what went on and why. be honest, I think most non-Irish

:25:38.:25:42.

people with close roots in the United States know very little about

:25:42.:25:52.
:25:52.:25:58.

time... I think it will bring back animosity. I think I would go and

:25:58.:26:06.

see it. I guess, insofar as we saw a jail when we were in Dublin and it

:26:06.:26:10.

was fascinating so to be able to see that in Belfast, I guess the

:26:10.:26:16.

conflict is a bit later and closer to now but it would be interesting.

:26:16.:26:20.

I typically don't go to places of torture or incarceration. It makes

:26:20.:26:26.

me feel uncomfortable and I just don't put myself through it. So what

:26:26.:26:36.
:26:36.:26:48.

27 years in the prison service. I want to see the maze levels. Let's

:26:48.:26:55.

bury all of that. He had be in charge when Billy Wright was killed

:26:55.:27:04.

by republicans inside the maze. murder of Billy Wright... I could

:27:04.:27:11.

not have anticipate how it would affect my life. The loyalist

:27:11.:27:15.

paramilitary footy may have colluded in the killing. The death threats

:27:15.:27:23.

came thick and fast and the house moves followed. Then the climax of

:27:23.:27:27.

that was retirement with poster Matic to stress disorder. It got the

:27:27.:27:34.

point where could not cope any more. He says his time in the prison

:27:35.:27:38.

service cost him his health and career. But his objection has

:27:38.:27:46.

recently changed. What society has been doing is running away from it.

:27:46.:27:51.

It may be the thing that makes us actually confront it, confront our

:27:51.:27:54.

past and deal with it through this new centre and hopefully then,

:27:54.:28:04.
:28:04.:28:10.

provided a glimpse of what is possible here, but the shadow of the

:28:10.:28:18.

past hangs heavy over the site. Just as it does over Northern Ireland.

:28:18.:28:24.

There is no attempt made to deal with the legacy of the conflict. The

:28:24.:28:29.

prisons were simply a part and parcel of that legacy and until you

:28:29.:28:35.

have a process that in place to look at all of that, you are going to

:28:35.:28:42.

have... You're going to have disagreement. If you forget the

:28:42.:28:50.

past, history will repeat itself. We should get it sorted out now, before

:28:50.:28:54.

my generation goes and the next generation comes along, because

:28:54.:29:00.

Terrorist shrine or iconic peace centre? Simon Boazman goes in search of the truth about the controversial plans to develop the former Maze Prison site.


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