Casement Park redevelopment plans revealed
Casement Park will be built within budget and to a design that enhances the local community. That was the pledge made by the Ulster Council last night as they unveiled state of the art plans for the new 38,000 all-seater stadium at a launch in the City Hall in Belfast.
Despite speculation that the redevelopment of the west Belfast venue was already running over-budget, Ulster Council president Aogan Farrell confirmed that Casement will be built within the £76m (€88m) already allocated through government funding (£62m; €72m) and the GAA's Central Council (€16.2m).
"The funding is in position, the design is in place and next it's over to the architects and the builders to deliver this stadium," declared Farrell. "The stadium will be built at the price we set and we now have a design that we are comfortable with.
"Up until now, we have been at the designing and planning stage. We have been looking at various designs and plans since early November and now we are ready to move forward. The target was that we will play in Casement Park in 2016, and that remains the case."
Planning permission will now be sought for the redevelopment. The Ulster Council are anxious that the redesign meets the satisfaction of local residents.
Farrell explained: "As well as being a functional stadium, we want it to be pleasing on the eye and enhance the local environment. We're aware that it is a built up community and we have put a lot of thought into the design. Despite what has been said, it can be all-seater and it can built within the existing site. That is of priority to the people of west Belfast."
"This is a significant milestone because people can see the plans and visualise what the stadium will look like."
Meanwhile, Loughgiel hurler Eddie McCloskey has defended the club's poor representation in the Antrim squad.
McCloskey, his younger brother Tony and Shay Casey are the only players from the defending All-Ireland club champions to commit to Kevin Ryan's Saffron squad this year.
Speaking ahead of their All-Ireland club semi-final against St Thomas' on Saturday, McCloskey admitted: "Others were asked and couldn't commit".
"If you're doing it all year round, it's tough. But if players are half-hearted, you don't want them there."