Lunn: Robinson has displayed ‘weak leadership’

Alliance Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn has criticised Peter Robinson’s ‘weak leadership’ as he has appeared to bow to pressure over plans to develop the Maze Long Kesh site, despite the extensive cost to the public purse.

Mr Lunn said the decision by Mr Robinson to release a letter from his holiday home in Florida effectively stalling to process, showed clearly he was not a First Minister for all in Northern Ireland and was more interested in securing votes for his party ahead of a three-year election cycle.

Trevor Lunn MLA said: “This cowardly move by the First Minister may gain the DUP more votes, but in reality they have failed to earn the trust and respect of voters which would allow them to lead a constituency through difficult issue.

“He has proven himself to be weak – issuing this from Florida to avoid dealing with his partners in government and the press on such a significant decision.

“There are serious questions that must be answered, including how much this project has cost so far. Planning fees, architect fees, business case preparation and EU funding disregarded all amounts to a considerable sum. I would predict the DUP has cost the public purse several million that will be never be recovered.

“Alliance has always recognised the importance of acknowledging and coming to terms with our past, if we are to move forward in building a shared society for everyone. We continue to support the Maze Long Kesh development and recognise the economic potential it has for Northern Ireland. But we have always said that anything approved for the site must promote reconciliation, be inclusive of all perspectives and not celebrate terrorism or glorify violence.

“This letter from Peter Robinson has profound consequences for the Haass talks, due to start next month. Rather than relying solely on Richard Haass, the onus is on all Parties to work together to reach the best way forward for Northern Ireland, rather than letting the desire for votes drive their actions. Dealing with the Past must be the core element of these talks, not just a bolt-on to which either or both the DUP and Sinn Fein pay lip-service.”

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