Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has reached an agreement with the GAA on a funding agreement of over £62million for the redevelopment of Casement Park in West Belfast.
The Minister said: “This is good news for the GAA in Ulster and for the people of West Belfast. The old Casement Park will be demolished making way for a new state of the art stadium with a capacity for 38,000 spectators.
This investment of over £62million is for the entire West Belfast community. Casement Park will put this part of the city on the map and open up many economic and tourism opportunities as well as providing a modern headquarters for Gaelic games in Ulster.”
Outlining the benefits of the project, the Minister said: “Stadium development is not just about sport and the benefits associated with sport. It is also about maximising social opportunities around major capital investments. This contract like the others at Ravenhill and Windsor embed social clauses and strategies to ensure social economic returns. When construction work gets underway there will be job opportunities for the long term unemployed and apprenticeships for young people looking for work experience in the building industry.”
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan granted planning permission and said; “³This is a tremendous boost for Gaelic games and for sport here. Planning approval will now lead to the creation of a modern sports stadium with improved facilities and increased spectator comfort. The new stadium is a high quality design which will be a recognised landmark building which will assist with the ongoing regeneration of the Andersonstown Road and boost the city of Belfast.
“³This stadium will have the potential to host cross-provincial matches usually played at Croke Park or Clones. This will boost sports tourism and the economy in the North. Jobs during the construction phase and additional jobs for the daily management are to be welcomed.”
The Sports Minister added: “Having planning approval granted for Casement Park is the final part of the jigsaw in the regional sports stadium programme. 2014 will see the completion of Ravenhill and construction work beginning here and at Windsor Park.”