Northern Ireland

Casement Park: Brian McAvoy says GAA ‘independently’ secured £43 million Irish government funding for stadium redevelopment

Contractors at Casement Park in west Belfast as the Irish Goverment announces a funding package that includes €50 million for the redevelopment of Casement Park. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN
Casement Park. PICTURE MAL MCCANN

Brian McAvoy has claimed that the GAA “independently” secured the £43 million from the Irish government for the Casement Park redevelopment and it can be added to their £15 million investment.

The Ulster GAA CEO said it came after the GAA “put a pitch” to the Irish government for funding of the redevelopment of the west Belfast stadium.

Mr McAvoy also said there was “not a blanket no” that the GAA could potentially increase its share of funding, but added it would be not be “by any great amount”.

Ulster GAA CEO Brian McAvoy
Ulster GAA CEO Brian McAvoy

On Tuesday, the Irish government pledged £43 million (E50m) for the scheme, but questions remain about the total cost and remaining funding needed for the project.

It comes amid claims from DUP MP Jim Shannon that the redevelopment now has a price tag of £220 million - a long way from the £77.5 initial sum that was mooted more than 10 years ago.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Ulster on Wednesday, Mr McAvoy said they would have “little scope for moving beyond” their original funding contribution of £15m, but added that “I’m not saying there won’t be anything”.

He said with the original costs spiralling, the GAA went to the Irish government for support.



“With the delay the costs have gone up and the GAA has independently gone to the Irish government, off on our volition, we put a pitch to them and yesterday we saw the result of that - the generosity and foresight of the Irish government with that funding announcement,” he said.

“So therefore if you take the £15 million committed by the GAA, plus the £43 million that the GAA have directly secured, that contribution is close to £60 million which virtually matches the £61.5 million on the table from the Executive.”

He added: “We have ourselves went directly to the Irish government in relation to this and we dealt directly with the Taoiseach and the Irish government and it is because of that we have got £43 million”.

Contractors at Casement Park in west Belfast as the Irish Goverment announces a funding package that includes €50 million for the redevelopment of Casement Park. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN
Contractors at Casement Park in west Belfast as the Irish goverment announced a funding package that includes €50 million for the redevelopment of Casement Park. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN

Pressed on whether the GAA would increase its contribution, Mr McAvoy said: “We are an amateur organisation, we don’t have the comforts of FIFA or UEFA or world rugby or anything like the other sporting organisations so there is a limit to what we can do.

“So that is why we thought outside the box, that’s why we have gone to the Irish government.

“We would have little scope for moving beyond that, I’m not saying there won’t be anything, but we have done a good job, we have seen the result of a good job yesterday in terms of the Irish government.

“We have limitations on how much we can afford.”

He said that any increase would not be “by any great amount” adding it is “not a blanket no, we will park it there for now and we see what happens in the overall terms of the overall funding round because obviously the ball is very much in the court of the UK government and the Executive”.