Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK


Sports centre could replace Maze prison

The Maze: New site could include children's nature walk

Local residents near the high-security Maze prison want transform it when it closes next year by building a community centre and sports field on its grounds.

The jail will close its gates for the last time next July when the last of its paramilitary inmates are freed early. This deal is part of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Search for Peace
A request to give a residents' group 12 of the prison's surrounding 350 acres will be made to security minister Adam Ingram on Tuesday.

Local Ulster Democrat councillor David Adams, who is representing the group, said: "Local people have put up with a lot over the years with a large prison on their doorstep, including the mass escape of 38 prisoners in 1983. They deserve something back."

A use for the prison buildings has not yet been decided, but the land it stands on could be sold off for private development.

[ image: One of the prison's infamous H blocks]
One of the prison's infamous H blocks
Mr Adams said the group has 65,000 to build a community centre, plus support from local churches and businesses.

If the government gives them the land, they could apply to the International Fund for Ireland and the European Peace Fund, he said.

"We'd like football pitches, tennis courts and a children's nature walk.

"We also feel this would act as a buffer zone between the surrounding rural area and any housing or other development that might go on the Maze site."

Difficulties to resolve

This news comes amid intense talks between political leaders to try and resolve the difficulties surrounding last year's Good Friday Agreement.

The talks are aimed at reaching an agreement on the critical issue of paramilitary arms decommissioning.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly's executive must be set up by the end of this week to take over powers from Whitehall.

Send your Easter messages to the Northern Ireland leaders


Your E-mail Address:

Town, Country:

Your comment:

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

30 Mar 99|UK Politics
Northern Ireland at crossroad

24 Mar 99|UK Politics
Talks continue as prisoners go free

22 Mar 99|UK Politics
Straw halts IRA prisoner release

22 Mar 99|UK
Sinn Fein in Maze talks

20 Mar 99|UK
Rollercoaster peace process

08 Jan 98|Despatches
Inside the Maze Prison

Internet Links

Prisons in Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland Office

Northern Ireland Office

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online