Belfast Telegraph

Casement Park social club to reopen after legal action settled

A social club at Casement Park GAA stadium is set to reopen after legal action was settled at the High Court.

Lawyers today confirmed a confidential resolution had been reached in an action brought to halt the shutdown of the west Belfast facilities.

With Casement Park set to undergo a £76 million redevelopment, trading at the social club within its grounds stopped more than a week ago.

An application was then brought for an injunction to prevent Antrim County GAA Board from taking any further steps towards closure.

Undertakings were given that equipment would not be dismantled or memorabilia removed until the dispute was determined.

But after being urged by a judge to try to overcome their differences, negotiations led to a settlement between the two sides.

Frank O'Donoghue QC, appearing for Casement Social Club, told the court: "I'm afraid we went to extra time, but we have managed to reach a resolution on the entire proceedings."

The action is to be stayed on a confidential basis, with the plaintiff's costs paid by the defendant, he added.

Following the outcome members of the social club's committee pledged to be back in business as soon as possible.

Chairman Bob Murray said in a statement: "While full details of our settlement with the GAA cannot be revealed, as we agreed confidentiality with the GAA, we are very pleased to announce that following on from our action in the High Court Casement Social Club is now to be re-instated in Casement Park and will re-open shortly."

A new stadium is due to be built on the existing site as part of a government investment plan which also includes upgrades to the Ulster rugby ground at Ravenhill and Windsor Park football stadium.

The court previously heard how a letter from the County Board's solicitors stated, as owner of Casement Park, it had no option but to close down the social club.

According to papers in the case the premises were to be shut by August 4 at the latest.

It was also set out that the club has not traded since running out of drink last month.

Mr Murray, who was supported by Eamon O'Brien from Dublin's Croke Park Social Club, insisted that his members want to be treated with "decency and respect".

"Casement Social Club has been a tenant in Casement Park for over 45 years and, as well as paying rent, contributed over a million pounds for the promotion of Gaelic games in the county by passing on the profits we made every year to Antrim County GAA Board," he said.

"We are very proud of this achievement and we saw ourselves as a loyal partner of the Gaelic Athletic Association promoting its aims and objectives."

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