GAA Football

GAA unsure of how Casement Park overspend will be covered

30 January 2019; Ard Stiúrthóir of the GAA Tom Ryan at the launch of the Publication of the Director General’s Annual Report at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
From Cahair O'Kane at Croke Park

THE GAA says it does not know where the money will come from for any potential overspend on the new Casement Park, on which £10m has already been spent.

When the project was costed almost a decade ago, the estimate for construction was put at £77.5m. Of that, the GAA agreed to contribute £15m, with the other £62.5m coming from the public purse.

Since then, the process has been upheld and had to go through separate design phases at a cost of £3m each, with the other £4m spent on administrative costs and pre-construction work, the costs of which were incurred because the project came within two days of a physical start.

No updated overall cost is known as the project awaits a response from the Department of Communities, but it is certain to have risen from the original estimate.

The provincial stadium project’s original pot of £110m should have a safety net of £7.5m which may be used to offset some of the costs, but that remains to be seen.

The GAA has recently come under recent scrutiny for a considerable overspend on the rebuilding of Pairc Úi Chaoimh, which could run to more than €25m above the initial projected cost.

At the time of the launch of the project to redevelop three provincial stadiums in the north, the NI executive earmarked £110m to be spent across Casement Park, Windsor Park and Ravenhill.

Windsor – now known as the National Stadium – received £25.2m in funding, while Ravenhill (Kingspan Stadium) was given £14.7m.

GAA Director-General Tom Ryan, at the release of his annual report in Croke Park yesterday, said that he did not have a figure for the current spend on the project but said the GAA had never been asked to increase its contribution to the project – and that they “don’t have an awful lot of room for manoeuvre” if they are.

“The business case, if you like, or the financial projections and the financial package that surrounded all of that dates from [around] 10 years ago, so certainly building inflation and all manner of things then, those costs need to be revisited and are being revisited.

“That’s a process that’s being managed by the Ulster Council through the authorities in the six counties and I don’t know how that’s going to conclude either so we made a commitment at the time that we were going to put in £15m into that project.

“That’s what we have to contribute to that project so we don’t have an awful lot of room to manoeuvre there and it is going to need a fresh look at how the business case and the finance case will be put together.

“In terms of what’s actually being spent on our part, I can’t remember off the top of my head but it’s not hugely significant and I don’t know how it relates to that 60,000 a week number that you articulated.

“There has been money spent and it’s been spent on planning and legal fees and the process as opposed to the construction of the thing.

“A small element will come from GAA funds but the predominance, the vast, vast predominance of it will not be from GAA funds.

“The answer is I don’t know [where funds for an overspend will come from], that’s exactly the process I am talking about in terms of a new financial plan, we look at what the costs are and we look at who is going to contribute what.”

Ryan said that the plans to proceed with the controversial 34,000-capacity stadium were “full speed ahead” and would not be downsized.

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