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McNarry ‘alternative’ stadium plans ‘from another planet’

28 April, 2008


Sinn Féin Assembly Member and Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee Chair, Barry McElduff has said that Sinn Fein would not support any suggestion that funding set aside for the Long Kesh/Maze project could be redirected be redirected to other sporting projects that exclude the GAA.

Mr McElduff said:

"The development of the Long Kesh masterplan should proceed without delay. Suggestions from David McNarry that a stadium could go ahead on the basis of excluding the GAA are a non-starter. Any suggestions that funding set aside for the Long Kesh/Maze project could be redirected to other sporting projects that exclude the GAA will not succeed.

"These 'alternative' show that David McNarry is clearly not listening to the sporting bodies, the GAA, the IRFU and the IFA, all of which are signed up for this major opportunity to provide a world class facility for sport. Sinn Fein will not accept a stadium being built on any other site.

"David McNarry and other unionists who are opposing this development need to get back into the real world and recognise the potential to create up to 10,000 new jobs - many at the higher value end of the scale - and to lever up to £1 billion investment. Failure to progress this site will be a huge loss to the economy and to this area in particular.

"There is an obvious contradiction that at a time when the Executive is pressing the British government to release to us disused military sites to be used for regeneration purposes we are in possession of a 360 acre site and have failed to act.

"Discussions about the Long Kesh site have gone on for nearly ten years. This project has the potential to overcome barriers in our society.

"Peace building in Ireland still commands much interest abroad and sporting opportunities exist ahead of the 2012 Olympics. Edwin Poots should take resolute action, stop pandering to those who for petty political purposes are intent on frustrating anything that is seen to have the support of the nationalist constituency." ENDS

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