Not in the public interest?

In the Observer, Henry McDonald reports on the Strategic Investment Board’s refusal to release the economic appraisals, business strategies and other documentation, relating to the £85 million stadium development proposed for the former Maze prison site, under the Freedom of Information Act, until an assessment is made on whether to do so “might otherwise prejudice or would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.” It’s not the final word, yet, but the decision to make such an assessment, of whether the documentation upon which the decision should have been based would undermine public confidence in the proposal if that documentation was made public, has raised the suspicions of opponents of the scheme.Worth noting the Belfast Telegraph report on the decision by the Ulster Council of the GAA from 27th October, and so far, the only sporting body to commit in principle to using the stadium –

Ulster GAA chiefs confirmed last night that they would welcome the opportunity to use a new purpose-built facility at the Maze – the first of the three major sports to give it the green light.

However, the Ulster Council, while reiterating its commitment in principle to the new stadium concept, made it clear that “certain issues” will require to be addressed before formal confirmation that major gaelic football and hurling matches will be staged there.

“As one of the three major sports whose involvement is deemed necessary to ensure the success of the project, we have made a submission to the Strategic Investment Board with the rider that there are some matters which will require clarification,” a spokesperson explained.

“We would hope to have further discussions on these in the foreseeable future.”