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Casement Park redevelopment rethink?

Words: Roger Milne
Casement Park / Robin Kirk

Plans to redevelop west Belfast’s Casement Park as a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) provincial stadium may have to be rethought and scaled back.

That’s the view of Colin Donnelly, the retiring head of Antrim GAA, who is quoted in The Irish News as arguing that the ground may need to be redeveloped “into a county ground as opposed to a provincial stadium” if a construction date is not set by early next year. He claims the project is “losing momentum”.

Currently, Ulster GAA wants to see the ground, closed since 2013, turned into a stadium with a proposed capacity of 34,500 – down by 3,500 on original plans. The association envisages it being used for provincial finals and major live events like pop concerts.

Present plans for the stadium are less extensive than those proposed for a scheme given planning permission earlier this decade but quashed after a High Court case in 2014.

The scheme is one of several high-profile projects stalled because officials cannot determine major schemes in the absence of ministers.

Residents in the area around Casement Park remain concerned at the environmental impact of a large-scale stadium scheme on their doorstep.

Image credit | Robin Kirk