NORTH Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan has welcomed the announcement of planning approval for the redevelopment of Casement Park.
In a statement to ‘Ballymena Daily’ he said: “The announcement that planning approval has been given to build a new state of the art stadium at Casement Park is very welcome news.
“This announcement will be particularly good news for Antrim Gaels and supporters of the GAA. I look forward to seeing this project progress speedily now so that we can once again witness our hurling, football and camogie played in Casement Park.
“I want to congratulate the Ulster Council and Antrim GAA and everyone who worked so hard over many years to get where we are today.
“Sinn Féin have been at the forefront of campaigning on this project for many years, working with many others, to get us to a place where the Minister is in a place to make this positive announcement.”
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA 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, Belfast.
Minister Mallon said: “Today marks a significant step in the redevelopment of Casement Park. The Ulster Council of the GAA can now move forward with their ambitious plans for the regeneration of the stadium.
“Since taking office I have stressed the need for progression of this long awaited application. 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.
“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.”
The Department received approximately 1,306 letters of objection and three petitions of objection along with 1,584 letters in support and one petition of support in respect of this application.
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