Cost of Casement Park project rises to £110m

The estimated cost of a redevelopment project for Belfast’s Casement Park has risen to £110m (€128m/$144m), it has been revealed.

The project had originally been estimated to cost £77.5m.

The stadium has been closed since 2013 and development plans still await planning permission six years after the last match was staged there. In October, the redevelopment project was put on hold but the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) recently maintained that it is fully committed to the plans.

The GAA submitted its planning application to Belfast City Council for a new provincial stadium at Casement Park in February 2017. A revised planning application for a 34,500-seat stadium was entered in February 2018.

In a statement providing an update on the project, Ulster GAA said it “welcomed correspondence received from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) this week which says that in the absence of a Minister, the Department may make the final decision on the Casement Park planning application.

“Whilst welcoming this development, the GAA has expressed its frustration at the time it is taking to conclude the assessment process. DfI has acknowledged the delay and has confirmed that responses will be issued as soon as possible.”

Tom Daly, chairman of the Casement Park Project Board, added: “Ulster GAA recognises and fully respects the required due diligence by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and all statutory consultees. However, the prolonged nature of the planning process is stalling the project’s progress and is also impacting its budgetary estimate which is now likely to be in the region of £110m. With every day of delay pushing out the earliest possible start on site for the project it is imperative that government departments discharge their responsibilities as expediently as possible to mitigate against increased costs.

“Ulster GAA is resolutely committed to the delivery of this project and to addressing the frustrations of our members and their communities’ that Gaelic Games remains the only sport which has not had its strategic stadium needs delivered within the Regional Stadia Programme, a Programme for Government priority.”

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