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Decision time for Maze/Long Kesh stadium - McElduff

27 March, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff MLA, who is chair of the Assembly Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee, has called on Finance Minister, Peter Robinson and Culture Minister Edwin Poots to act decisively and put a positive recommendation on the Maze/Long Kesh Stadium to the Executive for approval.

Speaking after it transpired that the three Sporting bodies representing Soccer, Gaelic and Rugby Football declined a request to meet the DCAL Committee, Barry McElduff said:

"I can understand the frustration expressed in the refusal by these sporting bodies to meet with the DCAL Committee. While it is important that the Committee meet with relevant bodies concerned with the proposed stadium any meeting must be predicated on decisive and positive signals coming from both the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and Department of Finance that the proposition is being given serious consideration based on the business plan alone and free from party political considerations. Unfortunately this is not the case.

"If the Stadium does not go ahead at the preferred site of the Maze/Long Kesh it will be unfortunate and will not only have repercussions for Sport here in the North but also for potentially massive job creation and a major boost for the construction industry at a time of decline.

"The internal political differences within unionism should not be allowed to determine whether or not there is a Stadium build on this site.

"Peter Robinson and Edwin Poots should now put a positive recommendation to the Executive for the Stadium to proceed, otherwise we stand to lose enormous benefits that would accrue for the North's economy as well as the major sporting events that will only be attracted here if we have world class facilities." ENDS

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