The Gaelic Athletic Association should make a fair contribution to the cost of building the new Casement Park stadium, unionists have said.
Years of delay following legal challenges to the plan by West Belfast residents and safety concerns has seen construction estimates inflate.
Detailed negotiations with the sporting organisation will begin once planning permission is finalised in the coming weeks, communities minister Deirdre Hargey said.
DUP Assembly Member Alex Easton said money for regional stadia should be divided properly between rugby, football and GAA.
.@CommunitiesNI Minister @DeirdreHargey has this morning attended @NIA_Communities to provide an update on the ongoing work of the department and to listen to members views and ideas pic.twitter.com/f7Ee4AsqGz— Communities NI (@CommunitiesNI) February 11, 2021
He warned: “It would be unfair if the GAA were to receive substantially more money to build Casement Park.
“I do believe that the GAA have to contribute for any of the extra funding if they want to progress this.
“I do not want it to be seen that the others have lost out financially.”
The predicted cost of the long-delayed project has already risen from £77 million to £112 million in the last seven years.
For over six years young gaels have not had the opportunity and we need to afford them thatDeirdre Hargey
Mr Easton added: “It is very important from my perspective and for my support that the GAA make substantial contributions to this development.”
The minister said rugby and football associations had already benefited from the ability to raise revenue using their overhauled venues while the GAA flagship venue was mothballed.
She told her scrutiny committee at Stormont: “The lapse of time has had an impact, we are still awaiting the full planning permission to be issued before we can complete the final business case.”
She said venues should be fit for purpose for each sporting code.
Casement is overgrown from lack of use.
The GAA’s efforts to develop the old stadium site in west Belfast have been mired in controversy, with initial planning approval for a 38,000-capacity venue quashed by the High Court in 2014 following a challenge by nearby residents.
In October, Stormont infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon recommended for approval a revised plan for a 34,000-plus venue.
Ms Hargey said: “My focus is to deliver a stadium fit for purpose for young gaels coming up in the time ahead.”
The GAA originally committed to contributing £15 million of the initial £77 million overall project estimate.
The minister added: “We obviously are going through due diligence, there will be a negotiation to be done around the cost.
“There is an expectation that if there is an increase in costs that has to be shared and there will be a negotiation with the GAA around that.
“My commitment is to deliver on this facility.
“For over six years young gaels have not had the opportunity and we need to afford them that.”