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Sinn Féin voice concern over Belfast stadium plans

23 April, 2008

Sinn Féin's Paul Butler has rejected the proposals to build a stadium at Belfast.

He branded the as a 'flawed report cobbled together on behalf of Belfast Council'. Plans to have the new stadium built at the Maze-Long Kesh site should now proceed and the debate about a stadium in Belfast should be ended.

Paul Butler said:

"A stadium in Belfast would only cater for one section of the community. In all of the debate about a new stadium in Belfast, the GAA has been ignored and treated as if they do not exist. Sinn Fein will not back any plans for a stadium in Belfast. There is no site in Belfast that would be viewed as being neutral to the GAA.

"All of the political parties who sat on the Maze/Long Kesh Monitoring Group agreed that any new stadium should only be built at the former prison site. The three sporting organisations, the GAA, Rugby and IFA have also signed up for a stadium at Long Kesh. That is the basis on which we should now proceed."

Paul Butler, who was Vice Chairperson of the Maze Long Kesh Monitoring Group which overseen the development of the former prison, also said that the focus should not only be on building a stadium.

He added:

"There is agreement that the stadium and the preserved prison buildings projects are, joined at the hip if you like, and must proceed simultaneously.

"The proposals for the preservation of part of the former jail along with the idea of a peace campus should be viewed as equally important as any plans to have a stadium sited there." ENDS

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