Editorial: The GAA must be told it has to foot its original 20% share of the costs of Casement stadium

Morning ViewMorning View
Morning View
News Letter editorial on Tuesday February 27 2024:

​The communities minister Gordon Lyons should make a statement on Casement.​

So should the Northern Ireland secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris, even though he does not have the responsibilities that he had before Stormont was resumed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Lyons needs to make explicit that he will not accept the idea that the GAA will not pay any more to a stadium that has soared in cost.

Mr Heaton-Harris then needs to give moral support to such resolution, after his supremely foolish comment last year: “We'll get the money, don't you worry”. This has let the GAA think it can preside over a massive delay in its showcase stadium, during which time costs spiral, and then expect everyone else to pick up the tab.

The assembly has reverted so swiftly to financial type that Casement epitomises a mentality in which someone else has to pay the bills, no matter how unreasonable, and that someone is the UK Treasury.

It is clear that the GAA should get the £62 million which it was promised for Casement more than a decade ago, indexed for inflation, about £90 million today. Equally clearly the GAA’s original contribution of £15 million should also be uplifted for inflation to £22 million. But that, while an absolute baseline figure, cannot be the end of the story, give that its delay has led to the ballooning cost. The GAA should maintain its original 20% cost share. This means that if the final bill is £160 million it will pay £32m, if it is £200m it will pay £40m, if it is £220m it will pay £44m, and so on.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ireland’s £42 million contribution is essential given that it has intervened unwaveringly on behalf of nationalist demands in recent years so it is only right that it funds a major project that ultimately benefits only that section of the community. And with the aforementioned contribution from the wealthy GAA the costs are largely covered and the stadium can edge towards construction.