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Antrim chief Murray to drive Belfast revival plan

By John Campbell

Incoming Antrim county board chairman Jim Murray and former chairman Joe O’Boyle will today meet with the National Urban Committee in Croke Park in what is seen as a first step in the renewal of the GAA’s Strategic Plan for Belfast.

Murray was due to take over from John McSparran on Monday night but the adverse weather conditions forced the postponement of the county’s annual convention.

It has now been rescheduled for the Dunsilly Centre of Excellence on Monday night next but in the meantime Murray is providing the dynamic for a reinvigorated approach to the further spread of the GAA in Belfast.

Fiercely committed to this particular cause, Murray has already indicated that the renewed Strategic Plan will embrace all areas of Belfast.

“The Ulster Council has been doing great work in relation to its integration policy and we are particularly anxious to follow their lead and make sure that people of all persuasions know that they can comfortably belong to the GAA,” insists Murray.

Having held different offices at county board level, he is regarded as a visionary and sees 2011 as “a vital year” in terms of developing the Belfast project and drawing up another new five-year plan for Antrim as a whole.

“We will be taking advice from the National Urban Committee today as well as putting our thoughts to them. Eight cities in the country as a whole have been targeted for GAA development and Belfast is one of these. Since the launch of the initial Belfast Strategic Plan, headway has been made but obviously we would like to see the rate of future progress accelerated if possible,” says Murray.

He has already confirmed that the redevelopment of Casement Park will be high on his agenda when he assumes the role of chairman.

“There is much work to be done at the ground but Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have to look to the future and a new-look Casement must be a priority,” states Murray.

Belfast Telegraph

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