The Maze was an extensive prison, specially built for convicted terrorists, both loyalist and republican, during the terrorist campaign. Following the 1998 Belfast Agreement and the subsequent early release of prisoners, it was decided to pull down the prison, with the exception of the wing where convicted IRA terrorists starved themselves to death at the beginning of the 1980s. Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, with the approval of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who had previously opposed those supporting terrorism, prevented the building from being demolished.
The official plan is to transform the site and in particular the remaining building into a so-called “conflict resolution centre”, with the moral and substantial financial support of £18m from the European Peace III money provided by the European Union. Although never openly admitted, the purpose pursued by republicans is to turn this building into a shrine to the glory of the men who starved themselves to death, making them appear as martyrs and in this way justifying the IRA terrorist campaign.
History has shown that to uproot fascism, it is essential to destroy buildings and monuments that may be used in the future as pilgrimage centres by adepts and those who wish to revive dangerous and murderous doctrines. This is what the Allies wisely did at the end of the Second World War. All buildings and bunkers used by the Nazis and by Hitler in particular were completely destroyed.
There is a close link between fascism and terrorism, yet the lessons from the past do not appear to have been learned. First, parties made up of politicians with no links to terrorist organisations agreed to engage in power-sharing with the forces of terrorism and fascism; secondly, the same politicians then surrendered to terrorist demands to maintain their buildings, which they can now turn into shrines to terrorism and promote a revisionist approach to the history of Northern Ireland; thirdly and most surprisingly, the European Union and more particularly the President of the European Parliament, Mr Hans Gert Pöttering, in 2008, have given their full support to the transformation of the building into such a shrine.
How can the EU argue that it is resisting and effectively fighting terrorism at home and abroad while at the same time providing funding and moral support for building a shrine to the benefit of one of the most influential and lethal terrorist organisations in the world, IRA/Sinn Fein? It is unfortunate that the real issues concerning what has happened and is still going on in Northern Ireland have not been objectively dealt with by the EU. It is time for the European Union to realise that it cannot honestly pretend to oppose terrorism, while at the same time financing a terrorist organisation and its plans.