Today’s ruling by Mr. Justice Humphreys is truly momentous for the Gaels of Antrim and Ulster and the GAA at national level, who dismissed the legal challenge against the granting of planning permission for Casement Park. The decision was clear, unambiguous and emphatic.
We can now, finally, plan for the delivery of our provincial stadium and the last remaining project within the NI Executive’s Regional Sports Stadia Programme.
We recognise the outstanding work of the Casement Park Project Team, their expertise, professionalism, and dedication throughout this long journey. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that the transformational sporting, cultural and economic benefits of this iconic stadium can finally be realised.
We commend the Department for Infrastructure for their comprehensive approach to the planning process which was vindicated by today’s decision.
Our full efforts will now be focused on continuing to work with the Department for the Communities and its Regional Stadia Team, finalising all remaining aspects of the business case, implementing our extensive and far-reaching community engagement and benefits programme as we move towards the construction phase of the project.
Finally, we thank Gaels and the community of West Belfast for their overwhelming support and strength of voice throughout this process. To those that are opposed to the project we would like to assure them that we will be good neighbours, working closely with everyone throughout construction and when operational to bring positive benefits to the whole community.
New Ulster GAA President Ciaran McLaughlin has confirmed that a key priority in his upcoming term is the full delivery of Casement Park.
Addressing delegates at last weekend’s Ulster GAA Annual Convention which was hosted by Antrim GAA at St Mary’s University College in West Belfast, McLaughlin welcomed the significant support there is for the project within the local community.
“Earlier this evening Ulster GAA were invited to meet a group of local residents, who wanted to outline their determination to see the project redeveloped as soon as possible. It was heartening to hear, first hand, the commitment and passion that there is for the redevelopment of Casement Park amongst local residents and I commend their determination to ensure that their voice will not be lost.
“The protracted planning process has been extremely frustrating for everyone and I would like to thank local residents, our members and the whole community for their continued understanding and patience as we seek to deliver Ulster’s provincial ground and Antrim’s home in the heart of West Belfast.”
Stephen McGeehan, Ulster GAA Project Sponsor added:
“It was a very special occasion to have Ulster GAA’s Annual Convention hosted by Antrim, in West Belfast last weekend. For Ulster GAA to be approached for a meeting by a group of local residents who live beside the stadium who wanted to convey their support for the project is very significant, and reflects the mood of the wider community.
“The group shared a letter with every Ulster GAA delegate outlining their reasons for supporting the initiative and their determination to ensure that supportive local voices will be heard in coming weeks and months ahead.”
Ulster GAA has today welcomed the announcement of formal planning permission for the redevelopment of its new provincial stadium at Casement Park in Belfast.
Tom Daly, Chairperson of the Casement Park Stadium Development Project Board has said that the announcement is a ‘momentous’ milestone for the Gaels of Antrim, Ulster and Ireland.
The GAA has said that the project will undergo a two-year build with major construction set to commence in the first half of 2022.
The project which is a commitment within the NI Executive’s New Decade New Approach agreement, and it is the last remaining element of the Department for the Communities Regional Stadia Programme which has seen the completion of the Irish FA and Ulster Rugby’s stadia.
Commenting on the significance of the announcement and the important role that GAA members have played, Tom Daly, said: “This a hugely significant announcement in the timeline for Antrim’s new home and Ulster’s new provincial stadium and I would like to thank Gaels throughout Ulster and Ireland, for their patience, commitment and unwavering support since our application was submitted in 2017. That support has been invaluable to our team who have worked tirelessly throughout a robust and comprehensive planning process.
“Casement Park is a now a live catalyst for the development of Gaelic Games and it will not only host some of the largest, most significant and exciting sporting occasions on this island, but it will also be a venue that GAA clubs, schools and community organisations will access and use.
“With a strong community focus, the project will create employment opportunities, increase footfall, support local business eco systems and supply chains and it will significantly add to the vibrant cultural and arts heritage that exists in West Belfast and across the city. The combined impact of the construction phase of the project and its operations when complete, will leave a lasting sporting, economic, health and cultural legacy for many generations to come.”
The new stadium which will include an iconic bowl design with a capacity of 34,578 and a range of mixed-use facilities has been developed by global award-winning architects Populous, designers of Tottenham Hotspur, Emirates and the Aviva stadia.
Commenting on the announcement Brian McEvoy, Chief Executive of Ulster GAA said, “With planning permission granted we are now looking forward confidently to the construction phase with a clear pathway for the project’s delivery. The project team is working with the Department for Communities to finalise all remaining aspects of the business case and we will be launching an extensive, far-reaching, and inclusive community engagement programme in the coming weeks to help realise the significant opportunities that the stadium will deliver for the whole community. Ulster GAA is committed to working very hard to be a good neighbour to everyone.”
Commenting on the announcement, Ciarán McCavana, Antrim Chairman, stated: “The New Casement Park will inspire future generations of Gaels in Antrim and serve as a platform to drive forward and grow our games. The impact of the new stadium will not only be felt in the GAA community but in the wider community acting as a social and cultural hub in the heart of West Belfast. We can now look forward to the day when we see the saffron jerseys lining up in Casement Park once again.”
Antrim and Ulster footballers, camogs and hurlers talk about what Casement Park means to them, their counties, their communities and Ulster. Have a look below!
With Minister Nichola Mallon recommending the Casement Park project for planning approval, we are looking forward to the next steps in the development of our iconic new stadium.
This significant milestone for the project sees the potential for construction works to commence in 2021, with a view to games being played at the stadium in the second half of 2023.
As part of the development process we will deliver a comprehensive Community Engagement Programme, as we work towards building a provincial stadium for Ulster and a new home for Antrim GAA.
We would encourage you to participate in this process, and will be back in touch in 2021 with details regarding the next steps of this programme of engagement.
On behalf of the Ulster GAA and Project Board we want to underline our absolute commitment to work closely with the whole community and to be a good neighbour throughout the development and operational phase of the project.
Should you have any questions or wish to get clarification on any matters associated with the project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will be in touch.
In the meantime, we would like to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year. Stay safe.
Ulster GAA has today welcomed the ‘landmark and historic decision’ from Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to recommend planning approval for the redevelopment of Casement Park stadium in Belfast.
Tom Daly, Chairperson of the Casement Park Stadium Development Project Board, said:
“Today’s announcement represents a very significant milestone for Gaels across Ireland, Ulster and Antrim who have remained fully committed to the delivery of their provincial stadium at Casement Park. We want to recognise and thank them for their unstinting support throughout the application process.
“We firmly welcome the Minister’s support and recognition of this decision as a significant step and one which will provide a major economic boost to Belfast. The Casement Park project will support the economic recovery, representing a long-term investment in the future of west Belfast, bringing with it many direct and indirect jobs along with increased revenues for local businesses and the regeneration of the area.”
Following the submission of a planning application in February 2017, today’s decision will act as a major catalyst for the GAA and wider community and will see the completion of the last remaining project within the NI Executive’s Regional Sports Stadia Programme.
More than 5,000 people engaged in the project’s unprecedented 32 week community consultation with 95% stating that they were in favour of the new design.
The community consultation informed the design process which was led by global award-winning architects Populous, designers of Tottenham Hotspur, Emirates and Aviva stadiums. The new Casement Park will deliver a state-of-the-art design and include an iconic bowl structure with a 34,578 capacity and a range of mixed-use facilities that will bring cultural, health, civic and economic opportunities to Belfast and beyond.
Commenting on the announcement, Brian McAvoy, Chief Executive of Ulster GAA said:
“Today’s decision provides a clear pathway for the redevelopment of Casement Park and will be a major boost to the GAA and wider society.
“More than a decade ago, the GAA made a commitment to the Gaels in Antrim, Ulster and throughout Ireland to ensure that Belfast would have a world class stadium to serve their needs. The recommendation of planning approval is a momentous step in this process, and we would like to thank our members and the wider GAA community for their patience and continued support throughout this journey.
“We would also like to thank the Casement Park Project Board and Design Team as we would not be here today without their tireless work and commitment to the process.
“Throughout the pandemic the GAA as a proud community organisation with more than 250,000 members in Ulster has led from the front in the fight against Coronavirus and this spirit matches the ambitions of the new provincial stadium.
“The re-developed Casement Park will bring positive local community benefits and we will work hard to be a good neighbour for all those who live in the locality.”
Ciaran McCavana, Antrim GAA Chairperson, added;
“The Gaels of Antrim can now look forward to having a world-class facility that they can call home, which will also inspire future generations to grow and develop our games. It will not only serve the GAA members, but it will act as hub for community and cultural activities that will serve the wider community, creating a transformational social and cultural focal point in Belfast. We also look forward to the long-term contribution that Casement Park will make to the regional sporting infrastructure of Belfast and Ulster over the coming decades.”
Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA and Finance Minister, Conor Murphy MLA met with GAA officials at Casement Park to discuss future plans for the project.
Commenting on ‘New Decade New Approach’ and the attendance of the Ministers at Casement Park, Tom Daly, said:
“Ulster GAA, the Casement Park Project Board and our members throughout Ulster warmly welcome the commitment provided within ‘New Decade New Approach’ to see the completion of the Regional Stadia Programme and the GAA’s new provincial stadium in West Belfast.
“It is a reflection of their commitment to the project and to the sporting and economic benefits that a new Casement Park will provide that the Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey and the Minister of Finance Conor Murphy visited the site within their first few days in office.
We will continue to work closely with the Department for Infrastructure to conclude the planning assessment, as we look forward to delivering an iconic stadium for Gaels throughout Ulster.”
Following the passing of more than 1,000 days since Ulster GAA submitted its planning application for an iconic new Provincial Stadium in Belfast, Tom Daly, Chairman of the Casement Park Project Board, and Antrim County Chairman Ciarán McCavana outline their frustrations, passion and steadfast commitment to the Casement Park project, and the transformative impact it will have for Gaelic football, hurling, camogie and handball.
The message from Ulster GAA and from Gaels across the province is clear, let’s build Casement!
As we approach that time of year when club and county committees throughout Ulster host conventions/AGM’s to review 2019 activities, I am writing to you to communicate our deep frustration that the plans for a new Provincial Stadium at Casement Park continue to be encumbered by a prolonged planning process.
Monday (25th November) marks 1,000 days since Ulster GAA submitted its planning application in February 2017 for an iconic new Provincial Stadium in Belfast which would deliver the last strand of the Regional Stadia Development Programme, a key commitment within the NI Executive’s Programme for Government.
The completion of Kingspan Ravenhill stadium for Ulster Rugby and the Irish Football Association’s Windsor Park Stadium is bringing significant benefits to their members and to wider society and it is obvious that the provision of modern infrastructure has helped develop the profile and standing of both sports. At Ulster GAA we are determined that 250,000 association members and new visitors to our games will enjoy similar benefits once the long-standing commitment made to us by Government are fulfilled, with the Casement Park project contributing significantly to sporting, cultural and economic prosperity.
Earlier this year we wrote to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to express our concerns about the planning process and the length of time it was taking some statutory bodies to respond to information requests. While we welcome the Department’s response which recognised our frustration and indicated that the process will soon be drawing to a close, we remain focused on ensuring our members are provided with absolute clarity on when, and by whom, a decision will be made.
We can also confirm that we have submitted our final draft version of the business case for the project to the Department for Communities (DfC) and look forward to its continued progression through inter-departmental processes to the Department of Finance (DoF). Thereafter, subject to planning approval and securing the additional investment required to deliver the project we remain hopeful that work could commence in 2020 at Casement Park.
Everyone at Ulster GAA is resolutely committed to the delivery of this project and to ensuring you, our members, benefit from the investment in major stadium infrastructure with a modern fit for purpose Provincial Stadium and a new home for Antrim gaelic games. We will continue to work with all stakeholders to satisfactorily conclude the planning assessment process and the commencement of the next phase of the project’s development.
In the meantime, on behalf of the Casement Park Project Board and Ulster GAA, I would like to sincerely thank you for your support and patience and I would ask that you continue to voice your support for the project as we seek to deliver a provincial home we can all be proud of.
The key features of the new stadium are included below: • Developed by global Award-winning architect Populous, designers of Tottenham Hotspur, Emirates and Aviva stadiums • Proposed capacity of 34,500 inclusive of 8,500 standing with roof capacity for all spectators • Iconic bowl design • Education & heritage centre, conference facilities and social club
has 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.
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.
Commenting on the delay Tom Daly, Chairman Casement Park Project Board, said: “The planning application for the redevelopment of Casement Park was submitted in February 2017, yet over two years later the length of time it is taking for some statutory bodies to respond to the planning authority is a cause of frustration within our project team and across the wider GAA community.
“Our expert team has worked closely with the Department for Communities (DfC) to support all requirements within the planning process. We implemented government recommendations in full, extensively consulted and produced a highly detailed and comprehensive planning submission to ensure the planning authority had all the information it required to make an informed decision on our plans to deliver upon the strategic stadium needs of our members and our communities.
“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.
“We will continue to work closely with the Department for Communities and while we acknowledge the challenges, not least the negative impact upon communities that have yet to benefit from the investment in major stadium infrastructure, we look forward to an efficient completion of the planning process and the commencement of the next phase of the project’s development.
“Everyone at Ulster GAA would like to thank our members and our communities for their continued support throughout this process and we place on record our unambiguous commitment to ensure that Belfast will have a world class stadium for Gaelic Games to serve the needs of the GAA in Ulster, Antrim and throughout Ireland long into the future.”