“if the Maze was not to go ahead..”

The Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister, the DUP’s Edwin Poots, has already speculated about what he could do with the £70million earmarked for any development at the Maze stadium site this year – and Sinn Féin’s Paul Butler responded here. Now the Finance Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, has confirmed that he will bring his decision on the business case to the Executive within three weeks. Presumably before moving into another office in the Executive. Adds More quotes here. From the BBC report.

[Peter Robinson] also said that if the Maze stadium was not given the go-ahead, stadia across NI would be improved. “I don’t think it is sufficient to say that if the Maze was not to proceed that we would walk away and do nothing with it,” he said. “No more is it sensible to say that if the Maze was not to go ahead that we would do nothing with football, rugby and GAA facilities elsewhere.”

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  • Paul

    DM,
    [i]It was the GAA who pushed for the capacity to be raised to 42,500 from 30,000, as this would better suit them.
    Clearly they are looking out for their own interests – as should the IFA, by rejecting a project that would see games such as the Co Antrim shield (where you would be lucky to break 5,000) being played in a 40,000 seater arena.[/i]

    I don’t think that anybody would force the IFA to play any small capacity ground at the Maze.

    Just as GAA National League games (typical crowds 5k to 10k) would continue to be played at smaller county venues.

    Its up to the IFA to develop a suitable ground for smaller crowds. I’m sure many Irish League grounds could accomodate a 5k crowd comfortably.

  • Paul

    DM,
    [i]It was the GAA who pushed for the capacity to be raised to 42,500 from 30,000, as this would better suit them.
    Clearly they are looking out for their own interests – as should the IFA, by rejecting a project that would see games such as the Co Antrim shield (where you would be lucky to break 5,000) being played in a 40,000 seater arena.[/i]

    I don’t think that anybody would force the IFA to play any small capacity ground at the Maze.
    Just as GAA National League games (typical crowds 5k to 10k) would continue to be played at smaller county venues.
    Its up to the IFA to develop a suitable ground for smaller crowds. I’m sure many Irish League grounds could accomodate a 5k crowd comfortably.

  • Paul

    DM,
    [i]You seem determined to pin all this on unionist instragience and distrust of the GAA, which is lazy at best.[/i]

    Not all of it no, but it is certainly an element.
    By far the most vocal campaigners againt the Maze have been the Greater Belfast based NI soccer fans.
    Some of these object solely on location, others additionally object to sharing with gaelic football.
    Of the latter group, some profess to object on the size of the pitch, whilst no doubt others just don’t want to share with the GAA full stop.

    An other group of objecters is Unionists who don’t want the CTC centre to be built.
    I would support moves to split the stadium and CTC issues.
    There no need for the stadium to stall just because we can’t sort out the CTC.
    As Reg Empey has suggested, the CTC issue could be parked until after the stadium is built.

    There is certainly an inbuilt distrust of the GAA amongst some posters here.
    In time, I’d like to think that some of these posters would move from hostility and realise that the GAA, with its higher footfall could be instrumental in delivering a shared high quality stadium for use by their sports as well.

  • Paul

    DM,
    [i]By the way, as I have said before the total cost of a stadium does not come from public money alone – private developers and businesses have a hand in these things too,
    and as has already been pointed out the GAA have benefitted previously from the UK Lottery fund as an amateur organisation. [/i]

    Yes, the GAA, like soccer, rugby and many other sports in NI have benefitted previously from lottery and public funding.
    But that is totally irrelevent to the discussion I’m having about how to fairly divide any money in the hypothetical agreement to do so if the Maze was pulled by Robinson and SF.

    My primary concern would be that all three sports are treated fairly, and that the GAA’s allocation would be in line with its need.
    As already stated to oneill, what else is a stadium for but to accomodate the estimated crowds that go there?

    If we’re dishing out money to improve stadia, it has to be in line with demonstrable need.
    The GAA has committed 150k pa to the new shared stadium, the IFA 80k pa, and the IRFU 40k pa.
    Its acknowledged that the GAA require a 40k + capacity, while soccer and rugby would settle for 25k.
    To me, that looks like a firm starting point in working out the needs of each sport.

    Historically, the GAA hasn’t done too well out of NI public sports spending.
    Yes, over the last ten years or so, we’ve started to get decent grants, but that wasn’t always the case.
    Sports Council statistics show that out of 662 council-owned pitches; just 59 are set aside for Gaelic games.
    I think thats a shameful imbalance.
    The GAA constituency is awake to any possibility of the IFA / IRFU getting disproprtionate public (direct or indirect, eg free city centre sites) funding without any quid pro quo funding for ourselves.
    The ultimate injustice would be for GAA fans, ie 55% of those who would have used a shared stadium, to continue standing in the rain whilst rugby and soccer fans are sitting pretty in a new all seted, all covered stadium, substantively paid for by public funds.

  • Paul

    oneill,

    [i]…….. does the GAA necessarily need a new stadium in Ulster?[/i]

    As per reply to DM:

    If you doubt the GAA’s needs to upgrade their stadia, have a look at the main stand at Clones.
    http://www.mcaviney.com/gallery/med.php?id=42999&cat=316
    This accomodates about 20,000.
    The first few rows have uncovered concrete benches. The rest are very basic terracing.

    Casement is even worse, 2,500 seats out of a 32k capacity, with no room to expand.
    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode;=&q=owenvarragh+park&sll=54.573169,-5.984652&sspn=0.005834,0.014591&ie=UTF8&ll=54.573256,-5.983665&spn=0.002917,0.007296&t=h&z=17

    Plus Clones is in the arse end of nowhere. Rather than waste money at either, we’d be better to start again, in somewhere more central.

    Additonal info:

    The GAA are deadly keen on getting a 40000 + capacity stadium in the North.
    For full details read Section 8.4.3 of GAA Strategic Review report

    re GAA’s stadia requirements:

    One ‘major’ stadium should be developed in each Province with the exception of Leinster; (A ‘major’ stadium would involve a capacity of 40,000 to 60,000, of which at least two-thirds would be seated and a minimum of 35% of the seats
    would be covered.)

    The GAA’s economic case appears to be backed up by an interim report by Department of Economics University College Cork. see

    http://www.ucc.ie/academic/economics/research/workingpapers/03-01.pdf

  • willowfield

    The title of this thread should be “If the Maze WERE not to go ahead”.

  • willowfield

    My own personal preference has always been for the Maze for the simple reason that it provides for all sports, and doesn’t discriminate agaisnt the best attended.

    But it discriminates against the worst attended by providing a soulless half-empty stadium, and is in an awful location in terms of access and atmosphere.

    It delivers the highest capacity & highest standard of stadium possible.

    Football doesn’t need nor want the “highest capacity possible”!