Exclusive: Maze selected for sports stadium…

GONZO hears that the Maze Prison site has been selected as the location for the new national sports stadium.

  • peteb

    “Gonzo hears” where, Gonzo?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    From my top secret agent in the heart of Government, ‘Sportknife’.

  • peteb

    :o)

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Sportknife, very good. Not really a neutral location though.

  • willowfield

    Disastrous news.

    Build a stadium in the middle of nowhere – what a great idea.

  • Moderate Unionist

    I heard that Coca Cola wanted the Maze for their new site for operations if the jobs were to be kept in NI.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The Tele seems to agree with me, though I hadn’t seen this when I made the post.

    National stadium gets go-ahead for Maze site

    By Gavin Mairs

    05 November 2004
    The proposed new National Stadium for Northern Ireland will be built at the former Maze Prison site, it can be revealed today.

    It is understood that the 360-acre site has pipped Belfast Lough foreshore and Titanic Quarter as the location for the state-of-the- art building.

    The Belfast Telegraph has learned that the Government’s Strategic Investment Board, in conjunction with the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, plumped for the Maze site largely because it is on cheap, government-owned land, although it also has the benefit of good transport infra-structure and plenty of room for parking facilities.

    The issue is understood to have been discussed at a high level meeting involving Downing Street, top civil servants and the four main parties from the province last week.

    An announcement, which had been expected several weeks ago, is now expected within a month.

    The only hold-up involves political machinations regarding a proposed heritage centre for the old prison on the site.

  • peteb

    “An announcement, which had been expected several weeks ago, is now expected within a month”

    Or even sooner.

  • willowfield

    I heard that Coca Cola wanted the Maze for their new site for operations if the jobs were to be kept in NI.

    If true, it’s a disgrace that the site was chosen for the stadium.

    Anyone suspect this choice is to make it easier for the government to tell the Provos they can’t get their Terrorist Museum?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Oh, Willowfield, my trusting friend… the deal has already been done. The Maze site will accommodate both – it is more than big enough.

  • Ziznivy

    Yes. I heard this some time ago from a Civil Servant who would need to know in the course of his job, so it seems to be accurate.

    I feel it’s a pity that the stadium will not be in Belfast, but it is positive that a site has been selected and work can get under way in the foreseeable future.

  • willowfield

    Ziznivy

    You heard about the stadium or about the Terrorist Museum?

  • Ziznivy

    The stadium.

  • ulsterman

    I am sure a provo museum will be welcome in Lisburn- Not. Still I suppose it will be the ultimate irony to have pictures of those that starved themselves to death hung in one small storeroom in the basement built on the very site they starved themselves to death.

    If the IRA want a museum at least put it in the Papist areas or in some Papist Cathedral. We dont want it. A museum to what. The IRA were and are nothing but a bunch of murdering thugs and murderers.

    Lets instead have a museum to those 3000 innocent people the IRA butchered before they were defeated by the Loyalists of Ulster.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Cahal

    Tell us how you really feel ulsterman.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘The IRA were and are nothing but a bunch of murdering thugs and murderers.’

    Pretty emphatic there.

  • Will

    ‘The IRA were and are nothing but a bunch of murdering thugs and murderers.'”

    On a point of pure pedantry, what is the difference between a murdering thug and an ordinary murderer ulsterman?

  • Davros

    The ordinary murderer is the one wearing an armani suit and writing books ?

  • irishman

    and what exactly does Peter Robinson got to do with this, Davros????

  • alex s

    with robinson you can be sure it will be ‘this years’ armani, not bought at a discount outlet like the rest of us mortals

  • alex s

    with robinson you can be sure it will be ‘this years’ armani, not bought at a discount outlet like the rest of us mortals

  • Moderate Unionist

    Do the residents of the area have any say?

  • George

    I thought the residents were let out on licence as part of the GFA Moderate Unionist.

  • willowfield

    Residents? It’s in the middle of nowhere.

  • Panda

    Is the Telegraph being delicate in describing the proposed Museum of Terror as a “heritage centre” or are we getting one of those as well?
    Will the Ulster GAA get special dispensation from HQ for playing in the same stadium as the foreign sports?
    I’m being churlish, NI has needed a modern sports stadium for a long time and at least something positive will be built on the site.

  • Moderate Unionist

    ctually Willowfield
    It is about five minutes from the Sprucefield roundabout which due to the presence of M&S is considered to be the real centre of Northern Ireland by many.

    It is also five minutes from Hillsborough, (so that should be handy for the Secretary of State). I wonder what the good people of Hillsborough and the surrounding district (which has seen an explosion of house building in recent years) will think about a football stadium arriving in their backyard. Bound to have some impact on the area.

  • Moderate Unionist

    George
    LOL 🙂

  • George

    I hate to be the one to burst any bubbles here (as he sings I’m forever bursting bubbles) but my understanding is that the Maze has been chosen as the preferred site for the proposed stadium.

    This no guarantee that there will ever be a stadium built there although it does seem to imply that it certainly won’t be built anywhere else.

    I have one word that describes proposed stadium sites perfectly: Abbotstown.

  • Davros

    Abbotstown ?

  • George

    Exactly Davros,
    otherwise known as the Bertie Bowl……

  • Davros

    Ahhhhhhhhhh!

    The ‘Abbot’ part had me wondering if this was another Pa*ist plot 😉

  • George

    I think maze is a corny name for a stadium anyway.
    How about Kesh Fada?

  • Davros

    As an aside – can anybody tell me what ‘dTeachtaire'(Cumann na dTeachtaire) means ?

  • George

    a teachtaire is a messanger.

    I assume it comes from teacht (coming) aire (attention)

  • Davros

    Ah, Thanks George. Makes sense in the context.

  • George

    Messenger naturally, 🙂

  • GavBelfast

    I do think that – if true – this will be a monumental lost opportunity.

    I really cannot think of anywhere where an ersatz out-of-town stadium has been a success.

    Where on earth does this sit with making going to a sports event a whole ‘day-out’ experience, with maybe pre-match drinks or shopping, a meal afterwards, spin-off benefits to local businesses? It doesn’t.

    There were/are sound reasons for building a jail in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t when its a sports facility we are talking about. It won’t work for all the reasons that, for example, the Odyssey, does.

    A bad, bad decision if it comes to pass.

  • beano

    A petition is underway to keep our big football matches in Belfast:

    Stadium For Belfast – Keep Northern Ireland’s Sport in Civilisation

    The main argument hinges on the carnival atmosphere in the city which would only be possible in a city centre location. Look at the Millenium Stadium or Croke Park if you need evidence of what we could have if the stadium was in Belfast.

  • IJP

    beano

    While I’ve some sympathy with the point being made, you must understand the reality of such a campaign is that it will deny us a stadium altogether.

    This is standard colonial-rule stuff.
    – The people want something.
    – Suggest we give them 80% of what they want.
    – The Norn Irsh being the Norn Irsh will complain they’re not getting 100%.
    – We’ll use that as an excuse not to give them it, since the popular will is we don’t proceed with the plan as is.

    Quite aside from the fact a stadium in Belfast would come at twice or thrice the cost etc etc.

    In an ideal world the stadium would be city centre. In this less than ideal world let’s just build the thing and get on with it.