Casement Park: Ni Chuilin asked to explain ‘major issues’

Car�l N� Chuil�n has treated the culture committee 'shabbily' said Nelson McCausland
Car�l N� Chuil�n has treated the culture committee 'shabbily' said Nelson McCausland

The Culture Minister has been asked to appear before her department’s scrutiny committee next week to explain “major issues” around safety arrangements at Casement Park.

Caral Ni Chuilin has been accused by Nelson McCausland of treating the culture committee “shabbily,” and said a new report on the GAA stadium’s redevelopment vindicates the committee’s decision to conduct its own inquiry.

A Project Assessment Review (PAR) led by the Cabinet Office, said a commanding figure was needed to manage consultants and contractors.

It also urged the GAA to dedicate a full-time leader, as well as significant additional resources, to the redevelopment project.

Whistleblower Paul Scott, chairman of the Safety Technical Group, had raised the prospect of another Hillsborough-style tragedy, and said spectators would not be able to exit quickly enough from a new flagship ground in west Belfast.

The report went on to say: “The review team believes that tangible benefit would be derived from the appointment of a project leader, experienced in the delivery of major construction projects.”

In a statement, Ulster GAA said: “The PAR report is a clear vindication of the premium which the GAA attached to the development of a new safe stadium on the Casement Park site.”

However, Mr McCausland said the committee’s report “will be more focused” and will receive evidence from a wider range of people.

He added: “Some of those who will be coming to the committee in September were not contacted by those carrying out the PAR.”

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said it was now clear that the minister had “presided over a shambles” in relation to the project.