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£61m GAA cash needs redirected

I gather that the planning application for the Casement Park GAA stadium has now been declared unlawful by the recent High Court judgment.

Since it is unlikely that a fresh planning application will be lodged within the required time frame for funding, I trust that the £61m funding support which the present Minister of Culture erroneously claims can be "ring-fenced" will now be reallocated by the Executive to more worthy causes. This is mandatory under public sector financial audit rules.

One worthy project urgently needing funding is the Ulster Orchestra, which not only contributes to our cultural life but also carries out vital education outreach projects to the community.

It does seem rather disproportionate that a GAA stadium that is of interest to only one part of the community gets £61m of UK taxpayers' money, whilst the Ulster Orchestra, which serves both parts of the community, is left floundering for support.

As a recent correspondent pointed out, from a report in a Private Eye column, funding support in Northern Ireland is highly politically expedient. This funding policy needs to change completely with far more probity and independent audit control, especially when large sums are consistently being spent unwisely.

Hilton CUBIT

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