Northern Ireland

No Maze development 'without peace centre'

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Media captionDeputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said no further development will take place

The deputy first minister has said there can be no development of the Maze jail site unless it is on the basis of previous agreements about the building of a peace centre.

Martin McGuinness was speaking in the assembly chamber.

He said he was "saddened" that his party's agreement with the DUP about the centre had not been honoured.

Mr McGuinness said the centre should have been the "jewel in the crown" of the site of the former prison.

Ever since First Minister Peter Robinson put the Maze Peace Centre on hold over the summer, Sinn Féin has been making its anger clear.

Monday's comments are the strongest indication yet that, as far as Mr McGuinness is concerned, any wider development of the Maze jail site is now frozen.

The deputy first minister praised the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) for staging its show at the site this May.

However, he added: "The anticipated development of the site can only proceed on the basis of the honouring of the commitments that have been made."

The RUAS has yet to sign a long-term development agreement with the board that runs the Maze site.

There is no suggestion its show cannot go ahead next year.

However, the current uncertainty will not please the RUAS or make it any easier to persuade other organisations to help regenerate the former jail.