Monday, 6 February 2012

Peace sells…but who’s buying?

SO Europe has said that they’ll cough up the cash for the new peace and conflict resolution centre at the site of the former Maze prison.

Complete with a centre to explore past divisions, workshop with international groups, tour trips to an ‘H’ block and visits to the former prison’s hospital and chapel it sounds wonderful.

The bill is not so wonderful. Europe is contributing £18m. The total cost of the re-developing the entire Maze site, including the Peace Centre thingy is £350m, a serious wad of cash in these straitened times.

But, really it’s not the cost that is really irksome. It’s the length of time it takes for the executive to get round to getting the blooming thing done. By our calculation most prisoners spent less time in the Maze than it has taken to actually develop the new place!

Belfast is spending £233m developing parts of the city and seems on schedule to spend it in three years. C’mon Maze development team! Get yer act together. If you’re going to spend our money do it quickly so we can have a nice wee row about your spending our money.

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