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Decision to recommend planning approval for 34,000-seater stadium at Casement Park announced

It is a significant step in the redevelopment of the Belfast ground, says Northern Ireland’s infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon.

An artist's impression of the redeveloped stadium.
An artist's impression of the redeveloped stadium.
Image: Antrim GAA

NORTHERN IRELAND’S INFRASTRUCTURE minister Nichola Mallon is recommending planning approval for the redevelopment of Casement Park. 

There have been long-standing hopes to a build a new 34,578 capacity stadium at Antrim GAA’s existing site on the Andersonstown Road in Belfast.

Nearly two years after original plans were scrapped following objections from a resident’s group over the size of the development, a new proposal that was expected to cost approximately €86 million was announced in 2016.

Since then, the complex application has suffered further setbacks but this latest news represents a major step on the road to finally upgrading the iconic venue. 

“Today marks a significant step in the redevelopment of Casement Park,” said Mallon. “The Ulster Council of the GAA can now move forward with their ambitious plans for the regeneration of the stadium.

“Since taking office I have stressed the need for progression of this long awaited application. I acknowledge that this approval was not an easy decision, there has been an extensive consultation process due to the complexities of the application and the level of public representation in relation to the proposal.

“I recognise the impacts on residential amenity from the proposed development but ultimately I had to weigh such impacts with the social and economic benefits that would result from the completion of this project and I truly believe that the Casement Park stadium will be successful.”

“The new stadium is of high quality design and will become a renowned landmark building which will provide a further catalyst for regeneration of the Andersonstown Road and an economic boost to West Belfast in general. Belfast as a whole shall benefit from this redevelopment, connecting people from across the city, the north and further afield.

This stadium will boost sports tourism and the economy in the North. Jobs during the construction phase and additional jobs for the daily management are to be welcomed.

“This decision represents a significant boost for our economy, our community and sports across Ulster and across our island.”

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The GAA has since published a statement, welcoming news of this development.

“The GAA welcomes confirmation today that a ministerial recommendation has been made for planning approval for the redeveloped Casement Park project in West Belfast. 

“Speaking on behalf of the GAA nationally, Uachtarán John Horan and Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan said: “Today is a very significant day, not just for the GAA in Antrim and Ulster, but for the organisation nationally.  

“The announcement represents a major step in the direction of fully realising the potential of a redeveloped Casement Park and the positive impact that it will have in the second largest city on the island and on the GAA community across the province of Ulster. 

“A lot of time and energy has been invested in bringing the project to this juncture and all involved deserve commendation for their patience and commitment to the stadium re-build. 

“We look forward to working with Antrim and Ulster in the weeks and months ahead to plan the next steps in providing a new and welcome focal point for our games and for the Association in the north east of the island.”

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Ben Blake

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