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DUP shenanigans over stadium will scupper World Police and Fire Games

26 March, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA Paul Butler has said that DUP shenanigans over the stadium at the Maze-Long Kesh will scupper the hosting of the World Police and Fire Games due to be held here in 2013.

These games have the potential to bring huge economic benefits to our local economy but this could be lost if a decision is not made soon over the stadium. It is estimated that the games will benefit the local economy somewhere in the region of £20 million and substantial media coverage around the world.

The Games could attract some 25,000 people visiting to participate and support the games from over 65 countries. It is estimated that the games can deliver 250,000 bed nights in local accommodation.

The success in securing the games was based on the games taking place in the new Multi-Sports Stadium, which would be situated at the historic Maze-Long Kesh site. All of the political parties including the DUP supported the games being held here and provided the Bid Committee with letters of support.

Mary Peters who was President of the Bid Committee led a delegation to Adelaide, which included representatives of Belfast City Council and the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure. She commented at the time that 'we have world-class facilities and the possibility of a new Multi Sports Stadium at the Maze will certainly support our case to host the World Police and Fire Games in 2013'.

The delay in making a decision on the stadium has already put in jeopardy the north's chances of hosting Olympic football matches in 2012. The hosting of the World Police and Fire Games is now also in danger of being lost due to the DUP and their internal difficulties over where the stadium should be located.

Paul Butler said:

"The DUP need to end the uncertainty and make it clear that they support the stadium being built on the site of the former prison. The reality is there will not be a stadium built with Executive approval unless it is built at the Maze-Long Kesh site.

"The DUP cannot dictate where the stadium will be located and Sinn Féin Ministers on the Executive will ensure they do not dictate the location." ENDS

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