Honeyford disappointed over Casement Park delays

Alliance Party MLA David Honeyford has said he will be hugely disappointed if Casement Park stadium is not redeveloped on schedule to host games for the Euro 2028 football finals.

David Honeyford

It follows GAA President Jarlath Burns’ comments that he now thinks it unlikely that rebuilding of the West Belfast stadium will be completed in time for the tournament.

Mr Honeyford said: “I have great sympathy for Jarlath Burns and share his immense frustration at the failure to date to progress the redevelopment of Casement Park.”

The Lagan Valley MLA singled out the role of the Westminster government and the DUP for creating the delays and uncertainty:

 “Alliance has consistently called for Casement Park to be built and completed in time for Euro 2028. The Euros is the third largest sporting event in the World, hosting here would showcase the ‘best of us’ around the world.

Not only boosting our economy by over £100m within our hospitality and tourism sectors but also setting this region up to be able to host major sporting events in the future, again helping to grow our economy. It’s really important to emphasise the positive sporting legacy the Euros would leave for the IFA and grassroots sports.

“The Conservative government has continually let the people of Northern Ireland down by underfunding this region below our level of need. It’s also not unnoticed that they were happy to fund sporting tournaments in Birmingham, Manchester and London but have failed to clarify their intentions to all of us here.

“We also haven’t been helped by the DUP collapsing the Assembly for two years which has also caused uncertainty and from the questions I’ve raised with the DUP Minister there certainly hasn’t seemed to be any real focus or desire to drive this project forward at the pace required.

“If we are serious about growing our economy and creating prosperity for everyone we need to put a stop to this continual self-hindrance of binary politics and start working towards growth and bringing our community together.

“There is still a slim hope that the election of a Labour government will see a change in attitude on funding for Casement but time is clearly not on our side.”