The Irish News reports today that plans for a Park & Ride for the new Casement Park at the old Maze site can’t be approved without a Stormont Executive.
You might be thinking, hold on a minute, they want to put a Park & Ride where they originally wanted to build the stadium?? So you drive to the Maze site, park your car, wait for the shuttle bus to arrive, traipse into Belfast on the bus, get off, watch the match, then repeat the process to go back to your car. All this will add say 1.5-2hours to your journey time.
Here is a crazy idea: why not build the actual stadium where people have parked their cars? Park your car and dander for 5 mins to the stadium. Am I missing something?
The Casement Park redevelopment plans have been a complete farce from the beginning. Residents don’t want it, it’s not safe, and the new Kennedy Way Junction is a mess as it is without adding 10,000 extra cars into the mix. And already they have spent over 9 million on it without turning a sod of earth. The old park was never at capacity anyway; the GAA could have done a revamp on what they had and saved themselves a lot of hassle. There is also the question of why the GAA did not keep using Casement until they had complete confirmation that the new redevelopment was going ahead? It was not so long ago that they installed new lights and a new media centre.
When you consider that Ravenhill was redeveloped for 20 million, you really have to question is the 77 million budget for Casement Park really value for money? For a stadium that will be used a handful of days a year? Are the Audit Office looking into this mess?
The current Casement proposals are mired in legal limbo, and as we know in Northern Ireland, these issues never get resolved. John Lewis at Sprucefield anyone?
The land Casement Park is on is prime residential land. The GAA should just flog it and build the new park on a brownfield site. It is meant to be an Ulster Stadium, so why would it not be in Dungannon or somewhere more central? Tyrone loves its GAA. I am sure they would welcome a lovely shiny new stadium.
Or scrap the mega stadium plans, spend 20 million revamping Casement and use the 50million to revamp GAA facilitates across NI. There is a concern out there that the GAA is attempting to professionalise the sport to the detriment of its amateur ethos. Selling rights to Sky, massive sponsorship deals with drinks companies, dubious property deals. I am not anti GAA, they are a fantastic sports organisation that is the lynchpin of many a local community but money corrupts. I would rather see money being spent at the ground level so all players get a boost.
Casement Park is a vanity project. Someone needs to stop the madness.