Northern Ireland

Casement Park project will cost approximately £110m

Casement Park Image copyright GAA

The communities minister has confirmed the proposed Casement Park development will cost approximately £110m.

The initial cost of the new GAA stadium was estimated at £77m.

Deirdre Hargey told MLAs the budget had increased due to inflation during a six-year delay and changes to the plans amid public safety concerns.

She said she was in discussions with Finance Minister Conor Murphy and the GAA about the development costs.

But the minister said she could not confirm that her department would bid for an extra £33 million to complete the project as it has not yet passed through the planning process.

In March 2019, the Department for Communities (DfC) said the sharp rise in cost meant it could not give the go-ahead, even with planning permission, because of a lack of a minister at Stormont.

In January 2020, the GAA said planning authorities had indicated they were "hopeful" the process could come to an end, possibly by early April 2020.

DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley said the increased cost was likely to shock MLAs and the wider public.

He suggested the capacity and scale of the Casement development could be reduced.

But Ms Hargey replied that the capacity of the stadium had already been reduced.

She pointed out that the fact the project was intended as a regional stadium meant there were limits to further reducing capacity.

She reminded MLAs there was a commitment in the New Decade, New Approach document to proceed with the new stadium and added that that there would be a cost to public health if it was not completed as a key part of the executive's sports policy.

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