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.

Indeed.

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  • Drumlins Rock

    Why are we giving over 60 million to a politcal organisation?

    “The association today defines itself as “a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic games and pastimes.”

  • MrPMartin

    I agree with Drumlin’s Rock. The GAA is to sport what Franco’s soccer clubs were to the off side rule. A cloak and a front and a masquerade for marshalling youth into a quasi political mono cultural philosophy

    Many grounds are still named after terrorists and many grounds are used by SF and others to commemorate terrorists

    Show me one rugby or cricket club that commemorates a UDA/UVF man and Ill eat my hat

  • MrPMartin

    And before we hear the usual guff about the coincidence that grounds are named after dead local members who just happen to have been terrorists are any GAA grounds named after innocent deceased members who were postmen or brickies?

    Thought not

  • Doug

    MrPMartin

    As someone who grew up playing Gaelic Football and Hurling, in school and for my local club, I genuinely don’t feel like I was ever mashalled into a quasi political mono cultural philosophy.
    Just had a laugh with my mates the went for a few beers in the club afterwads.

  • Dewi

    You need a rugby stadium to host the World Cup….which would be super for Ireland…..use this for Rugby also?

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, I don’t detect that level of foresight at play here Dewi. If there was Ravenhill might have been given a little more.

    Besides you really want something on the scale of Croker to even out the problem of bringing the spectators close enough to the smaller pitch size.

  • boondock

    The money has been set aside for sports stadia so trying to block funding for the gaa the most followed sport here would be ridiculous. Casement itself isn’t really the best site as it is a bit small. I would prefer a new stadium on a new more accessible site but the gaa want casement so so be it and you only have to look at Croke park to see how a tight site can be transformed and how it ha helped regenerate that whole area in Dublin . The residents cant complain they bought a house next to an existing stadium then there is always a risk of development or expansion same goes to those who buy a house next to the airport and then complain about the noise. Look at the massive improvement at ravenhill time for casement and Windsor to get their upgrades too

  • Dewi

    To host a World Cup One massive stadium, one big stadium and three medium stadiums would do it. Croke Park, Aviva and 3 Gaelic stadiums would suffice, Go for it!

  • RyanAdams

    Mick,

    Would rather fore-go a few world cup games in Ravenhill than have a 30,000 seater with a 10,000 crowd in it on a wet Friday night in January – Torrents of empty seats destroy the atmosphere!

    That said it is a decade away, and current re-developments were done in mind of being able to extend capacity from the imminently anticipated 18k up to 28k through developing the corners – I’m a realist but it’s something I’d love to see, Long may the growth of Ulster Rugby continue!

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    Drumlins Rock 19 November 2013 at 7:19 pm
    “Of course Casement park is extra special, its named after a terrorist, traitor and peadophile.”

    Dec 19 November 2013 at 7:42 pm
    Equating homosexuality with paedophilia, DR?

    Wait till he hears about The Fighting Cocks of Carlow GAA Club

  • Mick Fealty

    Dewi,

    It is worth looking at the site on Google maps. It’s hemmed in on three sides by residential housing, and front by the main A’town road.

    And the residents have had some encouragement from the NI Environment Agency: http://goo.gl/8ZwFwq.

  • tacapall

    “And before we hear the usual guff about the coincidence that grounds are named after dead local members who just happen to have been terrorists are any GAA grounds named after innocent deceased members who were postmen or brickies”

    No different than that now totally discredited police force (The RUC) getting awarded the George Cross or the memorials in various town centers commemorating the UDR. Have you been following the news lately or have you read Lethal Allies yet ?

    ” 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”

    Would those same concerned residents who could become members of the Casement park board possibly also be well known, and now wealthy, ex republican prisoners who are also leading members of Sinn Fein. Obviously there is a chance for money to be made here and a certain politican party masquerading as a concerned residents group to get a seat or two on the board of Casement park.

  • Gopher

    I get the feeling that bid for the Rugby world cup in Ireland has been designed to get GAA stadiums improved rather than do anything for rugby.

  • Republic of Connaught

    MrPMartin:

    “A cloak and a front and a masquerade for marshalling youth into a quasi political mono cultural philosophy.”

    Indeed, all those young African, Chinese, Polish, Latvian, etc. kids who play GAA in their schools across the country prove this, eh, Mr Gump.

  • MrPMartin

    Republic of Connacht
    Very laudable that all those nationalities are welcome into the GAA but are they not viewed as innocent canvasses upon which the Provo canvas can be drawn upon

    I refer you to this article
    http://m.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/probe-underway-after-racist-remark-made-against-protestant-gaa-player-1-5088441

    GAA may welcome everyone except northern Protestants and again please spare me the ‘Sam Maguire was a Protestant’ line. There are mavericks in any movement. Billy Leonard in SF doesn’t presage thousands of Methodists forming SF cummain.

  • MrPMartin

    Anyone provide me with a rugby soccer cricket ground named after a loyalist terrorist ?

    Anyone??

    Just one?

    Thought not

  • Hopping The Border

    “I get the feeling that bid for the Rugby world cup in Ireland has been designed to get GAA stadiums improved rather than do anything for rugby.”

    Indeed, those sinister GAA types, manipulating the IRFU and the Government into speculation over a bid for a global sporting competition worth millions to the economy, putting rugby in the spotlight for the nation’s youth and using the GAA grounds to glamourise a competing sport. Ingenious…

    What other sport on this island routinely generates the crowds, or has the facilities already (at least partially) in place to accommodate such games? Or do you propose building a few white elephant stadia for larger rugby clubs, never to see them full again after the tournament departs…

    The arguments over the political aspects of the GAA have been repeated ad nauseum.

    Focusing on Lynches or the very few competitions/grounds which bear the name of people with at least debatable legacies ignores the massive societal and cultural good the GAA provides, through physical participation, youth engagement, community spirit and sporting prowess.

    However, for some, the Irishness inherent in the GAA, together with its political roots, even if they are largely irrelevant today, will always present a barrier to its acceptance. For them, only when the body established to preserve and promote indigenous sports,culture and language drops all vestiges of Irishness “might” they then accept it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Mr P,

    Enough of the ad hominem attacks already… Speak to the subject in hand please?

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    MrPMartin (profile) 19 November 2013 at 6:53 pm
    And before we hear the usual guff about the coincidence that grounds are named after dead local members who just happen to have been terrorists are any GAA grounds named after innocent deceased members who were postmen or brickies?

    Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney – named after a Doctor
    Páirc Uí Rinn – named after a truck driver/mechanic

  • Republic of Connaught

    Mr PMartin:

    “GAA may welcome everyone except northern Protestants”

    Northern Protestants don’t like GAA, they don’t like the Gaelic language and they don’t like traditional Irish song and dance, hence most of their kids aren’t sent to participate in that, either.

    So any other nationality in Ireland can enjoy these native Irish pursuits without feeling in any way threatened but not the northern Protestants. Hmm.

    I think it was Alex Kane that said that the reasons for the border would disappear if the northern Prods didn’t deliberately reinforce their isolation from the rest of Ireland. Refusing to participate in native Irish culture and denigrating it at every attempt is part of that process.

  • iluvni

    So, anyhow, before this World Cup bid is finalised, it’ll be ok for England to play at the newly expensively redeveloped Casement Park, God Save the Queen n all that,….
    Yes, I know it was tolerated at Croke Park, but those Ulster GAA charmers weren’t really on board with that. were they……

  • cynic2

    “native Irish” Thats just casually Racist. Protestants are just as ‘native Irish’ as anyone else.

  • cynic2

    If the Stadium isn’t wanted simply don’t build it – at least not with public money

  • Republic of Connaught

    “native Irish” Thats just casually Racist. Protestants are just as ‘native Irish’ as anyone else.”

    Perhaps you should tell the majority of northern Protestants that. If I recall, the majority in the census ticked “British only”.

  • carl marks

    GAA largest sporting organisation in the country,
    Was a Hurler didn’t turn me into a Provo.
    Nationalists and GAA players pay taxes’, so entitled to expect government grants same as Soccer and Rugby Association’s.
    Has Protestants who play for it and doesn’t have a ban on them, unlike both the OO and loyalist bands (don’t they get government money and preach a political message)
    Now as to Casement Park I don’t know wither it should be built over local objections or not, but I do know that this sort of post brings the Bigots out of the woodwork,

  • Drumlins Rock

    It appears I have been censored, I shall therefore restate and substanciate my previous comment-

    In his article, aside from the current local difficulties, Pete raises issues arising from the money carve up following the failed Maze Stadium project, over 60 million of tax payers money funding a quasi political organisation, (as per the Aims of the GAA as previously stated). While I accept some support is justified for its excellent sports and youth work the political dimension should mean this would be limited, with £61.4m of a £70m project being excessive.

    Continuing on from this others have raised the issue of naming grounds after terrorists, and although “terrorists” of a centuray ago are usually ommitted from the equasion I believe Sir Roger Casement is an unsuitable caracter to have £70 million of mostly tax payers money devoted to his honour.

    Firstly he was a Terrorist, although glossed over by time the actions he took could easily be discribes as such, but I think that will get discussed in greater detail in coming months and years.

    Secondly he was a traitor, as a senior British Diplomat, accepting a kinghthood as late as 1911, then travel to an enemy nation in time of war and attempt to recuit prisoners of war to the German army counts as treason in anyone books.

    Thirdly, and this is probably where I recieved my red card, the accounts of sexual encounters with young men in the Black Diaries would likely lead to his being classed a peadophile in todays society. Certainly various commentators made that suggestion a few years ago when the diaries were authenticated.

    Casement certainly deserves credit for his amazing work in the Congo, etc. but I would question his suitability to have a goverment funded stadium named in his honour.

  • Ginger

    It is complete and utter nonsense to state, as Republic of Connaught does, that Northern Protestants don’t like traditional music and dance. As someone who was brought up in rural, predominantly Presbyterian, Mid-Antrim the area was always a stronghold of traditional music and dance and those involved in that tradition were often the same people who walked in Orange lodges on the Twelfth : the fiddle, tin whistle, hammer dulcimer, etc were common traditional instruments. One of the best known traditional singers in Ireland, John Kennedy of Cullybackey, was also noted for providing fife accompaniment to lambeg drums. In my youth the concerts in the local Presbyterian Chuch hall always featured traditional music and an Irish dancing troupe and traditional concerts were sometimes held — shock horror– in Orange Halls! The Protestant Hall in Ballymena was the meeting place, not only for the Loyal Orders, but also for Irish dancing schools and was the venue for an annual feis, there’s also an annual feis in the town hall. Most of the numerous Irish dancing schools in the town and surrounding districts reflect, in their membership, the religious make-up of the area, it was considered almost de rigueur for, particularly girls, to be sent to learn traditional dance.
    Nor is this tradition a thing of the past : I can assure Republic of Connaught that, as I write, many young people, from predominantly Protestant backgrounds, gather every week in my local village, under the auspices of the Antrim and Derry Fiddlers, to receive instruction in, not only only the fiddle, but the full spectrum of traditional instruments.
    I do get rather weary of listening to these tired old cliches being peddled by people, whose knowledge of Northern Protestants is clearly based on their own inherited prejudlce, rather than any real knowledge of the wide variety of people and traditions within that community

  • carl marks

    unlike both the OO and loyalist bands

    of course this should have read,

    unlike both the OO and loyalist bands who have bans on catholic membership.

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    True ginger, Rev Gary Hastings being a case in point

  • carl marks

    Ginger
    Indeed there is a lot of truth in what you say. My eldest learned Irish Dancing in the Protestant Hall in B/Mena,

  • Republic of Connaught

    Ginger:

    Why don’t you put your glasses on and read the words properly before engaging in a factually incorrect rant.

    I said: “most of their kids aren’t sent to participate” which is a fact, not an opinion.

    Your village or town, while I commend its respect and participation in the traditional song and dance of Ireland which belongs to us all, does not mean a comparable proportion of Protestant children in Northern Ireland participate in traditional Irish song and dance compared to their Catholic neighbours.

  • Mick Fealty

    Firstly

    Your comment is way way off topic Drumlin… (though you are hardly alone in that ‘offence’…)

    Secondly, Roger Casement? Really? You’d rather the new stadium was named after the former Member of Parliament for West Belfast instead?

    Let me remind people, this is about a planning, funding and outcome problem…

  • Paulk

    What is the particular main issue the residents are so vexed about? When i first saw that residents were opposed to the redevelopment i thought it was a tactic to get more out of the GAA in the way of free tickets etc.. which is fair enough for the inconvenience of having to put up with thousands of people and the clogging up of roads particularly in the summer months. But looking at the range of comments taken it seems to me that they just don’t want anything to take place full stop.
    Looking at the proposed plans it looks like the stadium will get higher meaning residents will have issues around natural light etc.. could the GAA go down the same route as the Aviva and put more glazing into the design? or dig even further into the ground so that the height of the structure decreases? Either of those solutions would mean a complete redesign and/or increased costs which is presumably what the GAA don’t want, or is it the amount of people it would attract? (although surely this is a problem they are already familiar with).
    I’ve a certain degree of sympathy with the GAA in this because no matter what you do someone won’t be happy.
    It isn’t really feasible for the GAA to rip it up and build on a new site, Casement Park despite being in a heavily residential area is in an ideal site, close to the motorway for people outside Belfast, lots of transport links with buses and black taxis for people in Belfast to travel to it, plus plenty of pubs and fast food outlets. The fact it is in Belfast (the most populous part of Ulster GAA) is another reason and would be a boost to the GAA in the city hopefully increasing participation in Gaelic games. It also makes sense as no other ground in Belfast could be developed to the required size or standard to host Ulster finals etc.. and given that most other Ulster county grounds have been developed/re developed already means Casement Park is the only show in town.

  • Mick Fealty

    DFrom the ATN link shared above:

    “Following construction of the proposed stadium the private gardens of properties [along Mooreland Park], both front and rear, will be completely in shadow from late afternoon onwards for most of the year.

    “[The ES] claims that these properties will receive more than three hours sunlight and therefore the development complies with the minimum BRE criteria.

    “We advise, however, that this sunlight will be experienced in the early part of the day whereas factors such as climate, working patterns, school hours, etc dictate that, in terms of amenity, gardens in this country are generally used for leisure, play, barbeques, sunbathing, etc from afternoon through to the evening.”

    “The proposed development will therefore have a major detrimental impact on the potential enjoyment of private amenity space of properties adjoining the site along Mooreland Park.”

  • Tochais Síoraí

    What is it with the GAA and big stadia anyway? Why 38,000? How many times a year will it be filled? Ulster final day – isn’t Clones there already or Croker if its Armagh Tyrone when 38k wouldn’t be big enough anyway. Unless there are other uses planned, wouldn’t 20,000 be plenty for Casement? When has there ever been more than 10,000 in it?

    The country is full of GAA stadia that are simply too big. There must be 10 GAA grounds with 30000+. Munster for example has Thurles, Killarney, Cork and Limerick (a short distance from Thomond, like Casement is from Windsor!!!) all 40000+. You can throw in a pile of 20,000+ grounds as well. Nearly every county has one.

    It’s classic keeping up with the Joneses. The county next door have one so we have to too. The money would be better spent on a smaller ground and improve facilities elsewhere throughout Ulster GAA. Better facilities are needed not huge capacity white elephants.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Republic of Connaught

    “I said: “most of their kids aren’t sent to participate” which is a fact, not an opinion. ”

    Forgive the pedantry man, but I can’t let that slide.

    If a Protestant kid is in any involved in a pipe, accordion or flute band then he/she involved in traditional Irish folk music.

    Different tempo and in some cases different lyrics but when it’s all stripped down, it’s traditional Irish music.

    (I was reminded of this yesterday, I went for a drive near this rig site and had Irish folk music playing and it struck me that I knew a lot of these tunes from the band scene)

    Also, for anyone who’s interested in the ‘hidden history’ of Protestant involvement in Irish folk music, have a look at this beauty:

    http://journalofmusic.com/listing/07-08-13/handed-down-country-fiddling-and-dancing-east-and-central-down-nigel-boullier

    Yer man at NoAlibis sells it for a bargain 25 quid.

    Carry on…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    ahem

    “If a Protestant kid is involved in a pipe, accordion or flute band then he/she is involved in traditional Irish folk music.”

    I should really start checking these posts…

  • Ginger

    How on earth does Republic of Connaught know that his “facts” are correct. Has he carried out a detailed survey?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Ginger,

    Perhaps you should look at the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil winners in disparate fields of traditional Irish music for the last 50 years to see where successful traditional musicians come from both within Ireland and much further afield.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Tochais Síoraí

    “wouldn’t 20,000 be plenty for Casement? 2

    I know Healy park in Omagh is often quite full and it has a capacity of around 20000.

    For example with a large capacity they often let in Children free for League matches.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Hi Mc Slaggert

    Quite full or full full? Really, how many times a year can people not get admission to a game in Healy Park? And if it looks like there’ll be people locked out, why not move it 40 mins away to Clones?