Reaction to Maze decision

Northern Ireland's political parties have been reacting to the decision by the European Union funding programme to withdrawn its offer of financial support for the peace centre at the former Maze prison.

John Armstrong, Construction Employers Federation

"The loss of funding for this flagship project is another major disappointment for the local construction industry and will have wider economic ramifications.

"Thirty thousand construction jobs have been lost since 2007 and, whilst there are signs that the recession is over, the industry needs government to get projects on the ground and build confidence.

"Every project that is stalled or scrapped is costing jobs and hindering economic recovery."

Tom Elliot, UUP MLA

Ulster Unionist Tom Elliot has said he is content at the decision to withdraw funding

"I think the aspect is that it didn't have widespread community support in Northern Ireland.

"You only have to talk to those victims groups that were opposed to the potential of a shrine.

"I think it's hugely positive for them to know that we're not going to have a terrorist shrine there, but that this money can be spent and I hope that some of those groups can actually avail of this funding."

Alex Attwood, SDLP MLA

"We've had door after door after door opened by the president of the European Commission and by the European Commission and after all those doors being opened, a door get slammed in our face.

"This is a bad day for politics and it's a bad day for the relationship between the Northern Ireland government and the European Union."

Jim Allister, TUV leader

"Ever since Peter Robinson was forced into his u-turn on the Maze Conflict Centre I have consistently made the argument that the EU funding earmarked for the project should be redistributed to deserving projects as soon as possible.

"I am delighted by the news that the Special European Programmes Body (SEUPB) has today announced that the money will be reallocated. I trust, however, it is spent wisely and not on some other unmeritorious schemes."

Trevor Lunn, Alliance MLA

"The blame must be directed to the DUP and Peter Robinson, whose procrastination has led to this situation. It was a cowardly move by Peter Robinson to make this U-turn while he was in America.

"This example of weak leadership has now resulted in a major development opportunity being lost that would have created a large number of jobs and been a big boost to our struggling construction sector. The public deserves more than this type of petty politics.

"Northern Ireland now risks the possibility of losing £18m of investment as it will be difficult to redirect this money to other projects within the given time frame."

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