The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has welcomed the decision of First Minister Peter Robinson not to proceed with the development of a proposed conflict resolution centre at the site of the former Maze Prison. Deputy Grand Master Rev Alistair Smyth said:

“The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has always maintained that the development of a so-called peace centre at the site of the former Maze Prison would serve to only deepen the trauma and prolong the healing process of the innocent victims of terrorism.

“This commonsense decision will be broadly welcomed across the wider Unionist family; but more importantly by those who suffered directly as the result of the vile terrorist campaign waged by republicans. Their resolve, dignity and quiet determination over recent months is to be greatly admired. 

“The Orange Institution, which has lost 337 brethren as a consequence of terrorism, consulted internally among our membership and directly with various victims’ groups on this deeply emotive issue. 

“From these conversations it was made abundantly clear those concerned will never countenance the prospect of a so-called peace centre at the very site, where those who inflicted nothing but anguish and sorrow upon the law-abiding majority, were quite rightly incarcerated for their horrific crimes. We make no apology for standing up for the rights and entitlements of innocent victims. 

“Rather than now engage in political point scoring, we would call on all our Unionist elected representatives to act in the best interests of those who have suffered most and unite in their resistance to the increasingly galling attempts by republicans to re-write history and glorify terrorism.”