Belfast Telegraph

Casement Park planning permission redevelopment formally quashed - but Ulster GAA remains 'fully committed' to transformation

By Michael McHugh and Claire Williamson

Plans for a proposed new venue for Ireland's rugby World Cup bid in 2023 have been quashed but Ulster GAA have said they remain "fully committed" to transforming Casement Park.

Planning permission for the 38,000 seater stadium has been overturned after residents in west Belfast objected.

Mr Justice Mark Horner ordered the step at Belfast's High Court which means it is back to the drawing board for the redevelopment of the Gaelic Athletic Association's Casement Park.

After the judgement was passed, chairman of the Casement Park project board Tom Daly issued a statement and said Ulster GAA remain "fully committed" to transforming Casement Park and building a provincial stadium.

He said: "Whilst we are disappointed with today’s judgment we are fully committed to transforming Casement Park and building a provincial stadium for Ulster which will provide a longstanding legacy for Gaelic Games as well as significant, social and economic benefits.

"We welcome that the judgment found the siting, size and scale of the Casement Park development were not contrary to planning policy.

"There is a strong resolve within the GAA to submit a new planning application in 2015 which will again follow the due process and scrutiny of the Department of the Environment. This is in keeping with the GAA’s Strategic Requirement of developing a fit for purpose, modern provincial stadium for Ulster at Casement Park.

"Ulster GAA strongly welcomes the continued commitment of funding by the Minister for Culture, Arts and leisure and the Executive for the project. We are also grateful for the ongoing commitment and support of the central GAA.

"Ulster GAA remains committed to working with the local community to see the completion of a world class stadium which has far reaching benefits for all."

Sinn Fein MP for west Belfast Paul Maskey said there should now be a 'fresh start' to ensure that the development of Casement Park goes ahead.

He said: "The decision by the High Court is a set back for the re-development of Casement Park. However the ruling presents an opportunity for a fresh approach to this project.

“What we need to see now is a fresh application being properly processed in order to see this valuable site, which presents huge economic opportunities for West Belfast, proceed.

“I welcome the fact the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín has stated that the money for this project is now ring-fenced. The minister has stated that this remains a Programme for Government commitment.

“West Belfast has suffered from years of neglect and under-investment. The potential of a multi-million pound state-of-the-art GAA stadium would be a great boost to the local economy and beyond.

“This can be achieved. All parties involved must now do all that they can to reach a resolution to ensure this project is delivered upon.

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