The Ulster Council’s ambition to see Casement Park transformed into an iconic venue that will serve the needs of Antrim and the province for the next half-century has taken a step nearer fruition.
It has been confirmed that world renowned stadium designers Mott MacDonald Ltd together with a pool of consultants will work as the Integrated Consultancy Team (ICT) to take forward the new stadium project.
Funding in the region of £61.4m from the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has already been gained for the Casement Park re-building and this will be enhanced by a significant financial commitment of some £15m from the GAA’s Central Council.
When completed in 2015, the redeveloped Casement Park will consist of a 40,000 all- seated stadium boasting substantial covered accommodation designed to the highest standards of public safety and with modern facilities for players, spectators and officials.
The Ulster Council has also given an assurance that extensive community consultation and engagement will take place throughout the planning and development of the project. Indeed, several planned public consultation events, including an open forum for the public in the Casement Park area will take place over the coming months.
“As a community-based amateur sporting organisation it is
the intention of the Project Board to also consult fully with the GAA throughout the nine counties in Ulster,” said chairman of the stadium project board Tom Daly.
Work will immediately commence on the formulation of a design brief, the progressing of the community consultation and engagement process and preliminary design work.
The intention is to proceed with a formal application for planning permission by the end of March 2013.
“Securing the commitment of substantial funding from DCAL, on foot of an earlier commitment by the First and Deputy First Ministers, combined with the very substantial contribution from the GAA have been particular highlights of the project to date,” added Daly.
“The challenge is to now work in partnership with the community, all strands of the GAA and the statutory stakeholders to ensure that the vision for this magnificent new stadium for the GAA in Ulster can be achieved on time, within budget and to the highest quality standards.
“Reaching the point where we have a world renowned ICT designing the stadium is very significant.”
Ulster GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail, in hailing the project, expressed the belief that when completed the stadium will be a stunning venue.
“A significant amount of work has been undertaken by the project board to bring us to this stage.
“I am grateful to Tom Daly, our Provincial Director Danny Murphy, supported by the project board and senior staff, who have brought us to this stage of bringing about what will be a state of the art venue,” said Ó Fearghail.