Robinson speaks about time in jail

Published Tuesday, 29 October 2013
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First Minister Peter Robinson has shared memories of his time at Crumlin Road Gaol as the facility welcomed its 100,000th tour visitor.

Robinson speaks about time in jail
The ministers and 100,000th visitor Phil McCarthy from Navan. (© Presseye)

Mr Robinson was an inmate in the Belfast prison's A and C wings on four occasions in the 1980s amid protests over the Anglo Irish Agreement.

Crumlin Road Gaol closed its doors in 1996 and has since been converted. It was reopened last November as a visitor attraction and conference centre.

Back this time as a guest, alongside fellow former inmate Jennifer McCann of Sinn Féin, the DUP leader welcomed the 100,000th guest on Tuesday.

He said he had "no attachment" to being held at the prison, but joked that the people he met during his stays there prepared him for "meeting the press".

Peter Robinson continued: "I was actually here on four occasions. We had a protest against the Anglo Irish Agreement and that brought me in here on a number of occasions.

There was no attachment to being in here but meeting the people I did has prepared me for meeting the press

Peter Robinson

"I did it completely wrong the first time - I refused to pay a fine as a way to get into jail and highlight the cause only to find they took my wallet and took the money themselves to pay the fine and threw me out on the street.

"They didn't catch me with that one again.

"It was a very dense area to be filled with prisoners, very difficult job for the prison warders to maintain particularly with the background of many prisoners that were here."

Crumlin Road Gaol dates back to 1845. The Executive has invested around £15m since 2003 in a programme of restoration works at the site, including £3m to bring the Gatehouse and Governor's Corridor back into public use as a top tourist attraction.

Junior Minister Ms McCann said: "This is obviously a very good project and it's good for the area, an area of deprivation and need so I hope that will cascade down to the community.

"I also think there's a very human history to this place as well.

"There were tens of thousands of political prisoners that came through the doors, and the suffragette movement was here, so it is good that the Executive is pursuing that history."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
10 Comments
john in crumlin wrote (174 days ago):
the birdman of the crum
Jonny in Belfast wrote (174 days ago):
Is that what u call doing jail peter .. I spent longer on the toilet
Rab in Northern Ireland uk wrote (176 days ago):
If it was so funny why didnt he stay there...
Ady in the outside wrote (176 days ago):
Peter couldn't wait to get into jail,Gerry couldn't wait to get out,you couldn't make it up !
Robert in Carrickfergus wrote (176 days ago):
if he did the time that both sides did for their causes' then he could talk. He is a joke !!
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