We Say

DUP new boy Jeffrey Donaldson dispatched a factotum to the King’s Hall public meeting on the future of Long Kesh with an uncompromising message: “not a foot will be used for a republican museum”.

One wit pointed out that for the DUP that’s progress — their catchcry used to be ‘not an inch’.

Whatever their motto, the DUP have their face set against any development in the former prison camp which helps us reflect on the past and build together for the future. That’s hardly a surprise - they are, after all, against the peace process so if a vibrant, educational museum at Long Kesh helps bring people together, they’re going to girn and gulder.

Like the book-burners of old, the DUP think they can obliterate the past by bulldozing the H-Blocks. Not a chance, they have to be told that by any objective historic or academic measure, Long Kesh is one of the most important sites in Ireland and is a vital part of our heritage.

A dynamic, bustling museum which sheds light on our past and serves as a beacon to the future is a prerequisite of any development plan for the Kesh.

Otherwise nationalists, who will be expected to foot half the bill for the development (and indeed the GAA which will be expected to endorse the proposed multi-use stadium), won’t want anything to do with a project which was originally billed as turning a site of conflict into a symbol of peace and regeneration but which is going to be a nationalist-free zone.

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