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Ulster GAA welcomes ‘the hugely significant and important contribution of the Irish Government to the re-development of Casement Park’, following the announcement today that it will be investing €50m in the landmark West Belfast stadium.

Announced as part of a wider investment package within the Shared Island Fund, the Irish Government’s support for the re-development of the stadium is a further boost to the project which has seen maintenance and pre-enabling works commencing on site this week.

Named as one of the ten host venues for the UEFA EURO 2028 Championships, Ulster GAA is confident that the stadium will be built in line with the UEFA timelines with GAA games being played at the stadium in 2027.

Commenting Tom Daly, Ulster GAA Stadium Board Chairperson said:

“We welcome, and thank, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Government for the hugely significant and important contribution to support the construction of Casement Park which will leave a legacy not only for the Gaels of Antrim and Ulster, but for all of society.

“We have been working closely with the Taoiseach’s office to bring the Irish Government on board to contribute to the Ulster GAA’s overall partnership funding package for the stadium which reflects its ambition to foster long lasting sporting, cultural and economic opportunities in the province. Throughout the process the Taoiseach and all of Government have been steadfast and consistent in their support for, and commitment to, helping Ulster GAA deliver a modern fit for purpose GAA stadium for the whole community.

“We also recognise that this will contribute significantly to both North South and East West relationships.”

Ulster GAA President, Ciaran McLaughlin said:

“This is a tremendous boost for all GAA members today.  Following on from successful bid by the UK & Ireland to secure the UEFA EURO 2028 Championships and the recent return of the Assembly and Executive we now have a once in a generation opportunity, to further advance community reconciliation and showcase this great city to the world.”

Commenting Seamus McMullan, Chair of Antrim GAA, said:

“This is a very important announcement, and we would like to thank the Taoiseach and the Government for their committed support. Anticipation, and excitement, is palpable amongst players and members in our County as we take another step closer to rebuilding Antrim’s home ground.  With initial works having commenced on site, we look forward to the project now moving at pace as we plan for an exciting new future for Antrim, both on and off the field.”

Ulster GAA confirmed last week that they written to residents and updated the local voluntary, business and tourism community about pre-enabling works taking place on site throughout February and March, followed by site clearance from April to June, including the removal of the old terracing.

Ulster GAA has announced that it will commence necessary maintenance and pre-enabling works for the development of the new Casement Park.

This will come as very welcome news for all GAA members in Antrim, Ulster and Ireland.

Setting out the scope of the pre-enabling works which will begin next week (w/c 19th February), Ulster GAA said that the team is looking forward to getting on site and confirmed that they have written to local residents and updated the local voluntary, business and tourism community on the plans and the project timeline. 

Activity commencing next week, which will continue throughout March, will be focused on initial ground works and this will be followed by site clearance from April to June, including the removal of the old terracing.  

The Department for Communities (DfC) is leading the procurement of the main construction contract for the project through UK Government frameworks for major strategic infrastructure projects.   

The Ulster GAA and the Irish Football Association have been working closely together in recent years and Tom Daly, Ulster GAA Stadium Board Chairman said they were delighted that the iconic stadium had been named as one of the ten host venues for the UEFA EURO Championships in 2028. 

Commenting on the announcement Tom Daly said, “Commencing works on site has always been a crucial milestone for the redevelopment of Casement Park and we are looking forward to this exciting new phase of the project with a targeted timeline for the delivery of Ulster GAA’s provincial stadium and Antrim’s new home.  

“It has been a long and frustrating journey to get to this point, however this is an important step forward as we prepare for the delivery phase of the project.  Casement Park will host some of the largest and most significant GAA games on the island and it will also be a seven day a week hub that the whole community can access and enjoy.   

“With Casement Park being the only regional venue that can host unique global events such as EURO 2028, we are also delighted to support our friends and colleagues at the Irish FA by providing the stadium as a tournament venue for the bid and we are excited by the opportunities that this will create for all of society. 

“With works commencing on site next week we will be working with the local community to ensure that they are fully informed on every step of the journey. As our team commences this phase of the project, we would like to thank the local community for their support and patience over the last number of years as we plan for an exciting new future for Casement Park.” 

Ulster GAA has hosted the first meeting of the Casement Park Community Engagement and Benefits Forum which will help to bring to life the many socio-economic and cultural opportunities that the new stadium will provide for west Belfast and the wider region.

Members of the Forum come from a range of community and professional backgrounds and have a broad skillset that will help to establish and deliver a community wealth building programme which will create social value from construction through to completion and beyond.

The Forum will be an important catalyst to ignite the exciting opportunities that Casement Park offers, by working closely with local organisations and the wider community to unlock the stadium’s full potential.

The areas of expertise within the Forum include education and skills, social enterprise, culture, arts, tourism, economic development and sport. 

At the launch event, which was held at the recently redeveloped St. Comgall’s Community Centre in West Belfast, Ulster GAA updated Forum members on the current work of the project team as they prepare for the construction phase of stadium.

The Forum will, in the coming weeks, establish workstreams and sub-groups to advance key elements of the project’s plans.

Welcoming the first meeting of the Forum, Casement Park Project Board Chairperson Tom Daly said: “We are delighted to have established the Community Engagement and Benefits Forum which will play a very important role in unlocking the full potential of the Casement Park project. There has been significant interest to participate in this important initiative and I would like to thank everyone who was been in touch with us.

“We are excited by the knowledge and expertise that there is within the Forum and we are looking forward to closely with the team to realise the considerable potential of the Casement Park project for the entire community.

“Participation and inclusivity will be at the heart of our community engagement, and through the Forum, a series of programmes and events will be developed, working with a range of organisations to deliver Casement’s vision of a seven day a week community hub supporting the social, economic and cultural development of the local area.”

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.

McLaughlin commented:

“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 info@casementpark.ie 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.” 

Pictured are Oliver Galligan, President Ulster GAA, Finance Minister Conor Murphy MLA, Ciaran McCavana. Chairperson, Antrim GAA, Tom Daly, Chairperson, Casement Park Project Board, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA and Brian McAvoy, Provincial Secretary, Ulster GAA.

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!

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