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Casement GAA stadium social club to reopen

SOCIAL club at Casement Park GAA stadium is to reopen after legal action was settled at the High Court.

Lawyers confirmed that a confidential resolution had been reached in an action brought to halt the shutdown of the west Belfast facilities.

With Casement Park set to undergo a £76 million redevelopment, trading at the social club within its grounds stopped more than a week ago.

An application was then brought for an injunction to prevent Antrim County GAA Board from taking any further steps towards closure.

Undertakings were given that equipment would not be dismantled or memorabilia removed until the dispute was determined.

However, after a judge urged both

sides to overcome their differences, negotiations led to a settlement.

Frank O'Donoghue QC, for Casement Social Club, told the court: "I'm afraid we went to extra time but we have managed to reach a resolution on the entire proceedings."

The action is to be stayed on a confidential basis, with the claimant's costs paid by the defendant, he said.

Following the outcome members of the club's committee pledged to be back in business as soon as possible.

Chairman Bob Murray said: "While full details of our settlement with the

GAA cannot be revealed, as we agreed confidentiality with the GAA, we are very pleased to announce that following on from our action in the High Court Casement Social Club is now to be reinstated in casement Park and will reopen shortly."

A new stadium is to be built on the existing site as part of a government investment plan which also includes upgrades to the Ulster rugby ground at Ravenhill in east Belfast and Windsor Park football stadium in the south of the city.

The court previously heard how a letter from the county board's solicitors stated that as owner of Casement Park it had no option but to close the social club.

According to papers in the case the premises were to be shut by August 4

at the latest.

It was also set out that the club has not traded since running out of drink last month.

Mr Murray, who was supported by eamon O'Brien from Dublin's Croke Park Social Club, said his members want to be treated with respect.

"Casement Social Club has been a tenant in Casement Park for over 45 years and, as well as paying rent, contributed over a million pounds for the promotion of Gaelic games in the county by passing on the profits we made every year to Antrim County GAA Board," he said.

"We are very proud of this achievement and we saw ourselves as a loyal partner of the Gaelic Athletic Association promoting its aims and objectives."

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