A MAJOR redevelopment of Windsor Park to transform it into a 18,000 seater stadium has been given planning permission.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood said the plan would be major boost for sport and football in Northern Ireland.
“Planning approval will now lead to the creation of a stadium that is fit for the 21st century,” he said.
“This ambitious, exciting project is important in sporting terms to everyone in Northern Ireland and will also create employment opportunities for local people, particularly during the construction process.
“This is why I made sure that we were in a position to turn it around quickly. My officials worked with the project team and key consultees for months before the application was submitted, clearing any hurdles. This ensured a quality application and therefore a speedy process.”
The Sports Minister Caral Ní Chuilín added: “Today marks another important step in the re-development of Windsor Park. The Irish FA are now able to move to the next stage of their ambition to create a modern stadium to cater for the needs of the whole football community.
“While the modernisation of Windsor Park represents a huge boost for football fans, this project and the others at Ravenhill and Casement are also about building community foundations and providing a catalyst for the regeneration of the areas around the stadiums.
“All of the stadium projects will bring benefits to local communities in terms of job opportunities during and post construction as well as providing wider social benefits in areas such as health and well-being.”