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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Maze 'will not be terror shrine'
Plans for the Maze site include retaining one of the H-blocks
Plans for the Maze site include retaining one of the H-blocks
There will be no shrine to terrorism beside the sports stadium on the site of the former Maze Prison, Shaun Woodward has said.

Speaking at his first Question Time as Northern Ireland Secretary, Mr Woodward said there were plans for a conflict transformation centre.

He said the Northern Ireland Assembly will have the final say on the proposed 55m multi-sports stadium.

Gaelic sports, soccer and rugby would be played at any future stadium.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson told the minister there was "almost unanimous opposition" among Northern Ireland football supporters to siting the stadium at the Maze.

"He will also be aware of the total opposition by unionists to the provision of a shrine to hunger strikers at the Maze - something which is already happening and which is being promoted by Sinn Fein," he said.

Mr Woodward told the East Antrim MP the stadium issue was a matter for the executive and it would be their final decision, but said the Maze stadium was supported by the three main sporting bodies in soccer, rugby and Gaelic games.

Maze stadium plan
The plans for the Maze stadium

"In respect of his observations about what some have described this being which is a terrorist shrine, can I say there is no question of this being a terrorist shrine," he said.

"Frankly to do so, as I think he knows, denigrates the work done by the Maze Consultation Panel - they came up with proposals."

It is also proposed that a conflict transformation centre will be built at the site, maintaining one of the Maze's infamous H-Blocks and the hospital wing where 10 republican hunger strikers starved to death in 1981.

Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was "not arguing for any kind of shrine".

"If we want a conflict transformation centre then it has to concentrate on how we resolve conflict," he said.

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