Queen's supports legislature move

April 26, 1996

Queen's University is backing a plan to take the "storm" out of Stormont.

Its outreach centre in Armagh is supporting an ambitious project to site a new parliamentary body 40 miles from the traditional seat of Ulster government - in Armagh.

It is a significant move for the institution long dogged by allegations that it was a bastion of Unionism. If successful, the plan will also turn the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland into its political capital. "We would become the city of saints and scholars and politicians," said one hopeful Armagh councillor.

Gary Sloan, project manager of the centre in Armagh, which opened just three months ago, said: "I think it is a fairly visionary proposal but I cannot say how it will go. We have just given our verbal backing to the proposal, we are not funding it."

The plan, which includes a glass-walled Peace Pavilion incorporating a parliamentary debating chamber, has been lodged with the Millennium Commission by a research charity, the Irish Parliament Trust.

A decision is expected by the end of this month and trust director, Paddy McGarvey, said it stands "a fair chance". He said the chamber would be offered to all comers and it was hoped that the existing Irish parliament, the Dail in Dublin, and the possible new body that could emerge from Ulster's precarious political elections, could take turns to meet at the centre.

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