THE political wing of the UDA says it supprots DUP leader Peter Robinson’s decision to halt the proposed peace centre at the former Maze prison.
The south Belfast branch of the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) accused Sinn Fein of speaking with a forked tongue on peace and reconciliation.
And the UPRG says the decision now has the potential to bring all strands of unionism and loyalism together “into a powerful force once again”.
In a statement following Peter Robinson’s announcement, the UPRG say: “This decision has been on the cards for quite some time.
“The last twelve months have not been conducive to creating an atmosphere of trust.
“Sinn Fein consistently talked in the language of peace and reconciliation but their actions betrayed otherwise.
“The flags debacle, Castlederg (the glorification of terrorism), Ardoyne, increasing attacks on Orange culture, demonisation of Loyalism and a refusal to acknowledge PUL cultural rights has seen a deterioration in an already strained relationship.
“Therefore this decision was ultimately straightforward and logical.
“South Belfast UPRG outlined its position in our magazine The Loyalist. It was pragmatic and justified.
“We are still fully in favour of job creation on the site itself based on the plans we have seen (and excluding the Peace Centre).
“These plans will no doubt be put on hold as the political fallout continues. That is a matter of regret. Yet we must acknowledge the moral component in the decision that the DUP has made and it is one that we agree with.
“This decision halts the historical revisionism that Sinn Fein aspires to. Irrespective of the promises and pledges, ‘guarantees’ and legal tie ups, it became apparent that any Peace and Reconciliation Centre would be subject to harmful propaganda and grievous hurt to the families of loved ones. It is right and proper that it is halted.
“We acknowledge the powerful lobbying of individuals and groupings opposed to the scheme. Their principled stand deserves praise.
“This whole issue has the potential to unify and coalesce the various strands of the PUL community into a powerful force once again. We look forward to the future with confidence and determination,” the statement concludes.