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  1. ITV Report

Concern over future of other big projects after ruling

A former senior civil servant, who was involved in the Northern Ireland peace process, has warned that the current political situation is dangerous.

It follows Monday’s High Court ruling that it was unlawful for a government official to give the go ahead for a waste incinerator project without ministerial approval.

The ruling has also sparked concern over the future of other big projects.

Alan Whysall, a retired civil servant in the Northern Ireland Office, said: “There are more and more issues that are coming up that really need decisions making.

“There is a crunch coming here between the need for caution and the fact that government does have to be done.”

One of the decisions the court ruling could cast doubt on is Casement Park, the new GAA stadium in west Belfast.

It has been a project plagued by problems in the past, however a decision on a revised planning application is expected soon.

A group of local residents who object to the scale of the development hope this court directive will make decision makers think twice about planning approval.

Tony Dignan from Mooreland & Owenvarragh Residents' Association said: “From our perspective it gives decision-makers in government some breathing space to ask themselves the question how many more delays do they want to tolerate?”

Other residents in west Belfast hope the project can still thrive.

Harry Connolly from Fáilte Ferste Thiar said: “As far as I am aware and local people are aware the Executive before it collapsed was very much in support of Casement Park.”

With no ministers, and now question marks over the power of officials, more and more decisions on key policies are piling up.

“It is very tense, it is really rather dangerous,” Alan Whysall said.

“The longer it goes on the more negativity emerges and the harder it will be to get back to devolved government and to that I don’t think there is an alternative.”