Northern Ireland

‘It won’t be an issue; they’ll get the money’: DUP minister reminds Heaton-Harris of Casement Park funding commitment

Executive has long running pledge to spend £62.5m towards rebuilding west Belfast stadium, listed as venue for 2028 Euros

Workmen at Casement Park GAA stadium in Belfast
Workmen at Casement Park GAA stadium in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

The UK Government made a public commitment on funding for the overhaul of Casement Park, so it is the treasury’s challenge to deal with the shortfall, Education Minister Paul Givan said on Tuesday.

Mr Givan, a DUP MLA, noted comments made by the Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris where he promised funding will not be an issue and “they will get the money”.

In an interview with BBC’s Good Morning Ulster, the Lagan Valley representative and former first minster said the increased estimated cost to revamp the west Belfast stadium is “clearly hugely significant”.

“The Secretary of State…said ‘it won’t be an issue; they’ll get the money’. We are waiting to see what the treasury in London will come up with in respect of Casement Park,” Mr Givan added.

“The UK Government have made commitments in respect of this and we will await to see the approach they take.”

Paul Givan said he has written to principals at the schools concerned following his decision
Paul Givan Education Minister Paul Givan (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Executive has committed £62.5m, with the GAA pledging £15m and the Irish Government last week adding a further £42.5m into the pot.

Mr Givan said “what was originally there is what is on the table from the Executive’s perspective”.



“If there is a shortfall, and I suspect there is a very significant shortfall, that is not a sum of money that the Executive has at its disposal,” he said.

New GAA President Jarlath Burns said it would be “unfair” to ask the GAA to pay any more money towards building the planned 34,500 capacity stadium it is hoped will be completed in time for the 2028 Euros.

Jarlath Burns began his three-year term as GAA president at Saturday's annual Congress in Newry. Picture by Sportsfile
GAA Congress Jarlath Burns began his three-year term as GAA president at Saturday's annual Congress in Newry. Picture by Sportsfile (SPORTSFILE)

The GAA, which reported consolidated revenues of just over €112m in 2023, approximately €20m more than when first pledging the £15m a decade ago, pumps the vast majority of its surplus back into the games across the island.

Its operating surplus after costs increased from €34m in 2014 to just under €60m last year.

But the non-profit sent a total of €60m to cover games development, player welfare, to the counties and for capital works.

Artists' impression of the new Casement Park stadium in west Belfast
Artists' impression of the new Casement Park stadium in west Belfast Artists' impression of the new Casement Park stadium in west Belfast

Newry and Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty supports Mr Burns’ “clear unambiguous position”.

“He only sees the big picture and recognises not just the benefit to Gaels of the redevelopment of Casement Park, but the massive positive spin offs for society in general,” said Mr McNulty, formerly the sports spokesperson for the party but currently suspended amid a dispute over his dual role as Laois football manager.

Mr McNulty added: “The GAA should not be penalized for political failure and delays. The GAA has multiple financial commitments across Ireland and across the globe. The contribution of the GAA is making to communities and society can never be underestimated.”