Politics

DUP: Extra cash for Casement tied to other sports

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

The new DUP deputy first minister has said any extra money for Casement Park must be on a “fair and equitable basis” with other sports.

Emma Little-Pengelly said her party had never opposed the planned upgrade of the west Belfast stadium as part of a funding package alongside soccer’s Windsor Park and rugby’s Ravenhill ground.

But with costs having risen significantly due to delays, she said: “Any additional resource allocated moving forward of course must be done in the same fair and equitable basis, recognising that many people across Northern Ireland are hugely invested and play a huge range of different sports as well”.

Previously the DUP has said that while it supports the UK and Republic’s joint Euro 2028 bid, which would see matches played at Casement, it would “oppose any plans to allocate additional resources to meet the GAA’s shortfall”.

A computer-generated image of how Casement Park will look when the new stadium is built.
A computer-generated image of how Casement Park will look when the new stadium is built.

Both the Irish and British governments have indicated they may make money available but initial funding is expected to come from the Department for Communities, now led by the DUP’s Gordon Lyons.

Ms Little-Pengelly told BBC’s Sunday Politics she would wait for Mr Lyons “and others” to bring forward proposals.

“The funding package that was agreed was agreed on the basis of a fair and equitable distribution,” she said.



“That has recognised how many people play the sports, how many people are spectators in those sports.

“So there is an allocation that has been made but there has to be a collaborative approach in terms of what can be reasonable and what can be done.”

SDLP public accounts committee chair Daniel McCrossan said the deputy first minister “should have been clear that the Casement Park redevelopment will be completed in time for Euro 2028″.

“There’s no room for half heartedness on this project from any corner of the Executive and the SDLP will be holding Ministers to account,” he said.