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Casement Park safety group terms of reference released

The GAA has launched a fresh community consultation on plans for Casement Park. Picture by Hugh Russell
Brendan Hughes

THE terms of reference on the operations of a safety group overseeing the Casement Park GAA stadium project have been released.

The document for the Safety Technical Group (STG) was agreed some weeks ago, nearly five months behind schedule.

But it has only been released in recent days through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by The Irish News after Stormont departmental officials would not provide a copy.

The seven-page document on how the STG should operate includes a page-long section on 'confidentiality' and the process for responding to FOI requests.

It says that if any public body involved in the STG receives an FOI request it should inform the STG and ensure its confidentiality clauses are adhered to.

Earlier the year The Irish News revealed that lawyers had been brought in by some organisations involved in the Casement project in a dispute over FOI requests.

In December the STG discussed new terms of reference but was unable to agree on how to respond to FOIs.

In an email a Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) official noted that some STG members "wish for their legal representatives to engage on (the) FOI issue".

In April last year former STG chair Paul Scott claimed at a Stormont committee that efforts were being made to block FOI requests on the Casement project.

The STG advises on safety issues for the west Belfast stadium design and includes representatives from the emergency services and Sport NI.

The terms of reference were formed on the recommendation of a British Cabinet Office-led report commissioned last year in a bid to get the troubled Casement project back on track.

It said new terms should be agreed within two months of appointing a new STG chair, which happened in October last year.

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