Belfast Telegraph

Casement Park: Replace stadium safety expert, review concludes

By Adrian Rutherford

An expert who raised concerns about safety at a proposed new GAA stadium should be replaced, a review has concluded.

Paul Scott claimed he was put under "undue pressure" to approve plans for the revamped Casement Park.

Now a report has recommended that an independent person should be brought in to lead the Safety Technical Group (STG), which Mr Scott chaired.

It said someone skilled in "mediation and facilitation, rather than technical knowledge" is needed.

Today's report concludes that relationships between key stakeholders on the £76million project are "broken" - and says a mediator is needed.

"We believe the use of an independent mediator will be needed to reset working relationships," it states.

A full-time and dedicated Senior Responsible Owner is also needed to lead the whole programme.

The report - which requires a raft of organisational changes - is the latest setback to hit the troubled project.

Today it emerged that a fresh planning application will not be submitted for another year.

The original application was quashed by a High Court judge last September.

However, Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said that while the stadium would be delayed, it would go ahead.

"This project can and should be completed, and I believe that we are now in a better position than ever to move ahead with it."

Casement Park is undergoing a £76million revamp as part of a Government commitment to upgrade outdated sports facilities.

The GAA wants to build a 38,000-capacity all-seater stadium on the current site on the Andersonstown Road in West Belfast.

The stadium is among the proposed venues for Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup bid.

In May Ms Ní Chuilín ordered a full review of the redevelopment plan after concerns were raised by Mr Scott.

A GAA spokesman welcomed the report's publication.

"The report clearly finds that a regional stadium can be developed on the Casement site to meet Ulster GAA’s strategic provincial need," it said.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph