Today’s announcement of the granting of planning permission for a £76 million redevelopment of Casement Park was disrupted by a protest at the Belfast venue.
This led to the official announcement having to be moved indoors. The redevelopment has been opposed by local residents who fear that the new stadium will block out daylight, devalue property and restrict access to the Andersonstown Road during major games. The residents still have the option of mounting a legal challenge to the planning decision.
Speaking at the event, former Ulster Council president and Casement Park Project Board chairman Tom Daly said the GAA had made genuine efforts to accommodate residents’ concerns.
Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister Mark H Durkan announced that the massive project, which will transform Casement into a 38,000 all-seater stadium, would be going ahead. Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and leading GAA figures were also present for the historic announcement, but as they posed for pictures, a small group of protesters vented their anger at the redevelopment plans.
Work is due to start early in the New Year and be completed within two years.