Infrastructure Minister recommends planning approval for new stadium at Casement Park

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA has announced her decision to recommend planning approval for the new stadium at Casement Park.

As a result, the Ulster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) will be able to build a new 34,578 capacity stadium on their existing site on the Andersonstown Road in west Belfast.

Plans to redevelop the venue were announced a decade ago, but were hit by objections from local residents and Stormont's collapse brought the project to a halt.

Minister Mallon said Tuesday's announcement marks a "significant step" in the redevelopment meaning Ulster GAA can now move forward with their ambitious plans. "Since taking office I have stressed the need for progression of this long awaited application," she said.

"I acknowledge that this approval was not an easy decision, there has been an extensive consultation process due to the complexities of the application and the level of public representation in relation to the proposal.

“I recognise the impacts on residential amenity from the proposed development but ultimately I had to weigh such impacts with the social and economic benefits that would result from the completion of this project and I truly believe that the Casement Park stadium will be successful."

She added: “The new stadium is of high quality design and will become a renowned landmark building which will provide a further catalyst for regeneration of the Andersonstown Road and an economic boost to west Belfast in general. Belfast as a whole shall benefit from this redevelopment, connecting people from across the city, the north and further afield. “This stadium will boost sports tourism and the economy in the North. Jobs during the construction phase and additional jobs for the daily management are to be welcomed. “This decision represents a significant boost for our economy, our community and sports across Ulster and across our island.”

In a statement, Ulster GAA welcomed the "landmark and historic decision".

Brian McAvoy, Chief Executive of Ulster GAA said: "Today’s decision provides a clear pathway for the redevelopment of Casement Park and will be a major boost to the GAA and wider society.

“The re-developed Casement Park will bring positive local community benefits and we will work hard to be a good neighbour for all those who live in the locality.”