I’m going to defend Sammy Wilson. Everyone please retrieve their jaws from wherever they’re now lying.
The outgoing Environment Minister is investigating whether he can de-list buildings at the site of the ex Maze prison. Amongst republican commentators such talk is presented as extremist posturing by the DUP in an attempt to underline its hardline credentials.
Whatever the party’s motivation, as it seeks to remove protection for unremarkable buildings, in which some convicted terrorists happen to have committed suicide, repugnance at such a place being effectively sanctified is neither a hardline attitude nor an unusual one.
Moving this society forward has required some unpalatable compromises, but what it simply cannot entail is acceptance of history, rewritten to suit the provisional movement. It is thoroughly disgraceful to suggest that IRA terrorists should be memorialised and glorified as a matter of course. All the more so where the proposed celebrations are in high profile, publicly accessible sites.
Conferring retrospective legitimacy on a shameful campaign of murder which had the backing of a tiny minority must never be the lesson we learn from our squalid conflict.
The Maze prison is a remnant of a grubby, bloody past and the most constructive future for its buildings is to raze them to the ground.