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Casement Park stadium 'must hold 30,000 fans': Minister

By David Young

Published 02/06/2015

The redevelopment of Belfast's Casement Park must provide for a stadium with a capacity in excess of 30,000 people, the sports minister has told MLAs.

Caral Ni Chuilin said the venue had to be of big enough to attract major events - such as rugby World Cup games if Ireland secures the 2023 tournament - and to comply with a business case for £60m-plus of Stormont funding.

The GAA's efforts to develop the old stadium site in west Belfast have been mired in controversy, with an initial planning approval for a 38,000 venue quashed by the High Court last December.

The GAA is currently in the preparatory stages of drawing up a fresh planning application.

During Assembly Question Time, the DUP's Alastair Ross asked the minister if she agreed that a 30,000 venue was needed.

Ms Ni Chuilin replied: "I would agree there needs to be a capacity of at least 30,000, not only to meet the conditions and criteria of the business case, but also to attract other events."

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