Minister gives Casement Park a...


Minister gives Casement Park assurances despite stadia funding cuts

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Northern Ireland's communities minister has given assurances that government funding for Casement Park is secure, despite announcing cuts to similar projects. 

Deirdre Hargey MLA announced that a funding programme for regional stadia in the six counties had been cancelled.

However, Casement Park has been designated as an "Executive Flagship" project, and will not see its funding affected.

In 2015 the Northern Ireland Executive earmarked £36million (€43m) for a sub-regional programme for local football. The programme required the Executive to sign off on the project, but following its collapse it has now been ditched.

"It is not my fault people walked out of the Executive," said Sinn Féin MLA, Hargey.

"I had aimed this was to be done before the end of the mandate, but because some walked away, this can not now be done."

Glentoran's ground, The Oval, was due to receive £10million (€12m) to bring it to the level of "hosting high-level competition matches with a moderate capacity level of 6,000 to 8,000 persons".

Another £17million (€20.3m) was set aside for other Danske Bank Premiership grounds capable of hosting crowds of 5,000 or more.

Casement Park has lain idle since 2013, falling into disrepair amid a string of broken promises and political instability.

Planning for its estimated £110million (€131m) redevelopment were green-lit last year, and it's hoped it could form the basis of the Irish FA's involvement in the proposed joint bid for Euro 2028.

The NI Executive pledged £62million (€74m) when the original estimate stood at £77million (€92), with the GAA chipping in £15million. However, there are fears the actual cost could now stand at around £140million (€167.5m)

Local residents have objected to plans to rebuild Casement, and a judicial hearing on the matter is due to be heard in March.

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Casement Park Deirdre Hargey NI Assembly NI Executive Northern Ireland

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