All is not well for unionist unity. After unionist unity candidate, Mr Lutton's failure to get elected in Mid-Ulster last week, the TUV and UUP have ganged up on anti-GFA unionists in the DUP. Mid-Ulster was a safe seat for unionism, with SF only making gains there in 1997, now a unified unionist can't seem to make inroads in the constituency.
The latest unrest within unionist unity is over the plans to redevelop the site of Long Kesh. TUV leader Jim Allister and former UUP chief Tom Elliott have accused the DUP of “hypocrisy and rolling over yet again to republican demands” after the DUP's Edwin Poots confirmed his party was backing the peace and reconciliation centre at the former prison site.
The new centre will sit alongside a preserved H block and other buildings, including the chapel and the hospital where ten Irish republican hunger strikers died. Ironically this is what Nigel Dodds said of the plans to preserve the hospital and chapel before his party's U-turn:
“However it is dressed up, whatever spin is deployed, the preservation of a section of the H-blocks – including the hospital wing – would become a shrine to the terrorists who committed suicide in the Maze in the 1980s. That would be obnoxious to the vast majority of people and is something unionist people cannot accept”.
Dodds seemed to be in direct contradiction with his colleague Jeffrey Donaldson who claimed:
I know a lot of Protestants who would support this on the basis of what has been agreed. It is about promoting dialogue and it is a way forward," But the TUV's Jim Allister claims, “Now the DUP are engaged in the very spin which their own deputy leader warned about.”
Former IRA prisoner Seanna Walsh, who read the IRA statement calling an end to its war, said that the centre would reflect the stories of all sides involved in Long Kesh – republicans, loyalists, the police, the Army and prison officers. It seems the DUP have been hanging out with SF too much at Stormont as it has learned how to talk out of its arse and mouth at the same time.
Leading unionists split over plans at Maze site - Headlines - Belfast Newsletter