McGuinness 'relaxed' over Maze DUP chair
Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has ended any suggestion of controversy over the appointment of a DUP member as chairman of the Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation.
Monday, 10 September 2012
While Sinn Féin raised the issue of Terence Brannigan not declaring such an interest when he applied for the board position, Mr McGuinness has since said he's relaxed about the situation.
Mr Brannigan - who is a DUP member, chairman of Glentoran Football Club and a director of the creative arts charity The Pushkin Trust - was confirmed in his new position by OFMdFM on Monday.
The future usage of the former prison site outside Lisburn has sparked much debate since it was closed 12 years ago, and the First Minister has again stressed there will not be a shrine to terrorists.
Peter Robinson told UTV that the 347-acre site, with development potential, "should be bringing in hundreds of jobs".
He added: "All sensible people will recognise that we've committed ourselves at every level, that there will be no shrine at the maze.
"What we do want is to exploit the economic potential of the site and also the peace-building aspect of it, where there's great potential for us to have a role in peace building and I would have thought that's something that everybody in this community should welcome."
I am confident that the experience and skills mix of the Board members will help transform the site.
First Minister Peter Robinson
The DUP leader also explained the remit of the other Maze board members.
"The Development Corporation, under the leadership of Mr Brannigan, will be tasked to maximise the economic development potential of this valuable regeneration site," Mr Robinson said.
"Challenges lie ahead, particularly given the economic climate we now find ourselves in.
"But it is imperative we grasp rare opportunities, such as the regeneration of Maze/Long Kesh, to aid growth and promote prosperity."
Mr McGuinness further said that the Stormont leadership is "committed to maximising the economic, historical and reconciliation potential of the site - for the benefit of all sections of our community here and further afield".
He added: "As plans progress, the regeneration of the former prison site will send out a powerful, physical signal highlighting how society here has been transformed and regenerated in moving beyond conflict."