Northern Ireland news

Casement Park rebuild hit by fresh setback

Work has yet to begin on the new Casement Park - artist's impression at bottom of image
Connla Young

The delayed Casement Park redevelopment project could be facing a fresh setback after it emerged that one of the firms appointed to build the controversial new stadium filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

In 2013 construction firm Buckingham Group was appointed along with Co Derry company Heron Bros to redevelop the landmark GAA grounds in west Belfast.

Last week Buckingham Group gave notice of its intention to appoint administrators.

Casement Park, which sits in the heart of west Belfast, has lain dormant for a decade.

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Initially budgeted at £77 million, it is now estimated the delayed building project will cost around £160m to complete, with the GAA set to pick up just £15m of the total.

Earlier this year, secretary of state Chris Heaton-Harris claimed that the cash will be found to build the stadium.

 

What the new Casement Park might look like

 

The planned 34,500 capacity venue has been dogged delays as a result of legal challenges from some local residents.

Last month the prospect of the new stadium being built appeared to be given a boost after soccer chiefs confirmed a joint Ireland/Britain bid for Euro 2028 may be unopposed.

Casement Park is among 10 stadia across Ireland and Britain lined up as potential venues and at least four games would take place at the GAA grounds if the bid succeeds.

It has been suggested that if building work begins at the end of next year, as expected, the stadium may be completed by 2026.

It is unclear if building work can now begin as planned.

Buckingham Group, which is based in Buckinghamshire, has been involved in several high profile projects in recent years and is currently redeveloping Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool FC.

The firm has also been involved in major work at Craven Cottage, where Fulham FC play their home games.

In the past, the firm has delivered stadia for several English soccer clubs including Brighton and Hove Albion, Brentford and MK Dons.

The firm said in a statement that although it has enjoyed "very strong commercial performance across most of the business", it has encountered "deep losses and interim cash deficits on three major stadium and arena contracts, and a substantial earthworks contract in Coventry".

"This situation on these four long-term projects developed through a combination of unexpected impacts such as the extreme inflation linked to the Ukraine conflict and other challenges in the sports and leisure division." it said in a statement.

 

Work has yet to commence on the new Casement Park

 

The company emphasised it is currently not in administration.

"As a result of the recent challenges the board has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators  to protect the business whilst we explore a sale of all or part of the business in a very short period (days/weeks)," it said in its statement.

"We will be liaising with clients and interested parties to optimise any solution and secure the best outcome for creditors."

A spokesperson for Ulster GAA said it "is aware of the news reported that the Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd (BGC Ltd) Directors, have filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators to the company to protect their business, whilst they explore a sale of all or part of the company in the period ahead".

"BGC Ltd are one of the joint venture partners involved in the Casement Park works contract.

"It is important to clarify that the company is not in administration and Ulster GAA will continue to monitor the situation closely assessing what affect (if any) this may have on the future delivery of our project.

"We remain fully focused on work commencing on site early next year.”

Northern Ireland news