Conflict transformation centre would cost £10m (Irish News)

[The debate on a mooted post-conflict facility for Northern Ireland has invariably fallen to a split between unionists (opposed) and nationalists (favour).]

Conflict transformation centre would cost £10m
11 November 2008
Irish News

The conflict transformation centre at the site of the Maze prison will cost more than £10 million, it was revealed yesterday.

Dubbed a tourism opportunity by some nationalists but a shrine to paramilitarism by unionists, there were calls for the project to be scrapped in favour of developments which attract cross-community support.

The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMdFM) confirmed the £10.2m costs in a written answer to Ulster Unionist assembly member John McCallister.

“It seems incredibly expensive. If you look at signature projects like the Titanic a lot of other aspects of our past would be better celebrated than spending that on a conflict transformation centre,” Mr McCallister said.

“I don’t see it as a runner for many, it would be so divisive an issue that to actually spend £10.2 million I think would just be crazy.”

Division between unionists and nationalists on the fate of the centre, which is planned to be included in a multi-sports stadium near Lisburn, has resulted in a lengthy delay.

It is one of the issues which Sinn Fein and the DUP are attempting to resolve as the logjam at the Executive remains.

Today Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun will demand a centre for Northern Ireland at a conference on conflict resolution.

“We are now looking at creating a Europe-wide network of regions and cities that are coming out of conflict or that are living with conflict and exclusion,” she said.

“The European Commission has enthusiastically backed the creation of such a network.

“I also call for an EU centre for conflict resolution to be established in the north of Ireland.

“Such an EU centre could make a huge contribution to conflict resolution across Europe and beyond.”

The OFMdFM said that £10.2m figure needed to be finalised.

“This is very much a broad order of cost pending detailed specification and design, and would require updating,” an official said.

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