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No taxpayer cash for Windsor Park's demolished west stand, vows Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin

Published 01/06/2015

Windsor Park west stand: The demolition recommendation came after structural engineers examined the damage
Windsor Park west stand: The demolition recommendation came after structural engineers examined the damage

No public money will be spent replacing Windsor Park's demolished west stand, Caral Ni Chuilin has vowed.

Stormont's sports minister made clear the cost of both knocking down and rebuilding the stand was an issue for the Irish Football Association (IFA), the contractor and the insurers.

Major cracks were discovered in the stand following Northern Ireland's game against Finland in March.

Construction work had been ongoing on the grounds to the back of the stand at the time the damage developed.

The demolition recommendation came after structural engineers examined the damage. However, the report outlining the cause of the cracks has not been made public.

Stormont had committed more than £30 million to the on-going redevelopment of Windsor Park prior to the problem with the west stand - a project that includes the construction of new south and east stands.

Builders are fast-tracking this work to ensure the stadium has a 10,000 capacity for Northern Ireland's crucial European Championships qualifier against Romania on June 13.

But Ms Ni Chuilin today insisted her department would not finance a new west stand.

"That is something the IFA are working out with the contractor and their insurer and I am led to believe this is being done with a can-do attitude," she told Assembly Question Time.

"But certainly I am very certain that the liability for not only the demolition but the completion of a new west stand will not come from the DCAL (Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure) or indeed the public purse."

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