As the BBC reports, local residents have continued their protest against the planned £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast. From the UTV report
Around 100 residents took part in a demonstration on Saturday afternoon. They say they are now considering taking legal action.
One woman said: “The main thing is the height of it, it’s going to be about 129ft and right around the whole outskirts of the houses.”
A man said: “It’s an absolute monstrosity. The residents are not going away – we were here before the GAA and we’ll be here after.”
Another woman said: “We’ve seen people power in other aspects of the community over the years and we’re fighting for our neighbourhood. The next step will be talking to our solicitors and looking at ways to take a judicial review over the planning application.”
[The protesting residents] said they were concerned that the height of the structure would cast their houses into permanent shadow.
The GAA said it wanted to continue to engage with residents but the chair of the residents association, John Crossey, said that was not happening.
Residents also protested outside the local Sinn Féin offices – angry their political representatives were not doing more.
Sinn Féin MP for west Belfast, Paul Maskey, said he has done all in his power to facilitate negotiations between the GAA and residents and he will continue to do so.
As I pointed out previously, 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…
Planning permission for the Casement Park redevelopment was announced on 19 December 2013. And the Northern Ireland Sports Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín, was so delighted there was not one, but two consecutive press releases to confirm funding for the scheme.
That was promptly followed by the Minister’s announcement of approval for the funding agreement with the Irish Football Association over the £31million funding for the redevelopment of Windsor Park in South Belfast.
The IFA scrapped the requirement for suitability assessments for senior officials earlier this year .
“I need to be assured that appropriate governance and accountability structures have been maintained,” said Minister Ní Chuilín in the Assembly [Hansard 10 September 2013].
“Until that happens, I can’t sign off on any agreement.”
Then again, 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.