GAA: “We’ve tried now for the last 16 months to build a level of consensus around the stadium project…”

The GAA appears to be facing some more local opposition to the £70million plan to build a 38,000-seat stadium at its existing sports ground in Casement Park. [Pending planning permission… – Ed]  From the BBC report

About 200 people attended the residents meeting [on Monday 18 November], at which some said that the proposed new stadium must be stopped.

One resident told the meeting: “We’re not opposed to a development of the GAA in this city but we need it to be done to the satisfaction of the residents.”

Another man said: “The new Casement Park will have as much relevance to the grassroots GAA in west Belfast as the man in the moon.”

A woman from west Belfast told the meeting: “We pay our taxes, we live in Andersonstown and a lot of people that are trying to force it through don’t live here.”

However, Ryan Feeney from the Ulster Council of the GAA said the residents had been listened to.

He told BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme: “We’ve tried now for the last 16 months to build a level of consensus around the stadium project. There is a wide level of support in the wider west (Belfast) and right across this city for the project.”

And, with his party being, partly, responsible for the divvying up of the ”package of circa £138million [to] be used to upgrade regional stadiums at Windsor Park, Ravenhill and Casement Park” the local MP is as patronising sympathetic as you’d expect…

The MP for West Belfast, Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey, said the development would create employment in the area and concerns about the road infrastructure could be resolved through dialogue with residents.

Mr Maskey also suggested that a number of people from the local residents association could become members of the Casement Park board.

[As appointed by?! – Ed]  As BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport mentioned back in March 2011

…one aspect of the announcement which is questionable is its very symmetry. If the Executive took a needs based approach rather than a politically expedient route, would both the GAA and Soccer require exactly £61.4 million? I know it’s a sporting cliche to talk about a “game of two halves”, but is this the sporting equivalent of the judgment of Solomon?

It stirs memories of the symmetrical solution to the Victims Commissioner dillemma – we can’t agree on one so let’s appoint four.


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