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Stadium money can only be spent on Maze-Long Kesh site say Sinn Féin

30 April, 2008

Sinn Féin's Paul Butler has said the £70 million allocated towards a new stadium by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure was earmarked only for a stadium at the Maze/Long Kesh site. Paul Butler was responding to Edwin Poots response to a question asked in the assembly about the allocation of money for a new stadium.

This money was agreed by the former Maze/Long Kesh Monitoring Group and all of the parties who sat on the body, including the DUP, agreed that it would be allocated for a new Multi Sports stadium at the Maze/Long Kesh site which would cater for the three main sporting bodies the IFA, GAA and Rugby.

Paul Butler said that any attempt to reassign this funding to build a stadium in Belfast would be opposed by Sinn Fein.

He branded as 'flawed' a report carried out on behalf of Belfast Council' in relation to a stadium in Belfast. 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 organizations, 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." ENDS

Editor's Notes

To ask the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to detail (i) the amount of money allocated towards a new stadium; (ii) when this money was allocated towards a new stadium; (iii) if this money is ringfenced for a new stadium; (iv) if this money is conditional on the new stadium being located at the Maze/Long Kesh site; and (v) whether this money could be used for a new stadium at a site other than the Maze/Long Kesh site

Ministers' Reply

An indicative allocation of £70 million has been made in the current budget period of 2008/09 to 2010/11 for the proposed Multi-Sports Stadium. The Outline Business Case, which presents a number of options on the Stadium, is presently being considered by the Department of Finance and Personnel. In the event of a decision not to proceed with the stadium proposal, the Department will seek approval from the Executive to reassign this funding. The Department will look to other priorities, initially within Sport, and then within its other programmes to utilise this money.

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