Regional Stadium Development Programme

Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 28th May 2012.

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Photo of William Humphrey William Humphrey DUP 2:30 pm, 28th May 2012

6. asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure for an update on the development of Windsor Park, Casement Park and Ravenhill. (AQO 2051/11-15)

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

As the Member will know, the stadium programme is complex. As regards rugby, planning permission for Ravenhill was received earlier this year. The design has been developed, and they will go to tender for a contractor in mid-June. The contractor should be on site in September.

The GAA is currently out to tender for a design team, which will be appointed by the end of July. It is working with the planners on Casement Park’s requirements and has commenced various surveys and agreed the overall programme with my Department. In addition, it will shortly commence a consultation process with residents.

The IFA has also agreed its overall programme with my Department. It has appointed a design team and is working on the design of Windsor Park. It is working with the planners and will submit for planning by the end of the year. It will also commence a consultation process shortly.

That progress means that it is anticipated that rugby will have its stadium by September 2014, soccer will have its by June 2015, and the GAA will have its by September 2015.

Photo of William Humphrey William Humphrey DUP 2:45 pm, 28th May 2012

I thank the Minister for her reply. Can she tell the House what work DCAL is doing with the three sporting bodies to ensure that, in the medium to long term, the stadiums will be sustainable?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

As I am sure the Member is aware and can appreciate, the whole process is very detailed. However, sustainability is absolutely key for the three sporting bodies. As well as being about the sustainability of the infrastructure of the three stadia, it is about achieving sustainability in the communities. Right from the start of the project, which is the biggest capital programme in this CSR period, we want to ensure that communities are considered. They will certainly be considered right at the end, and by that I mean employment opportunities, training and apprenticeships, as well as the provision of goods and services.

Photo of Gerry Kelly Gerry Kelly Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat, a Phríomh-LeasCheann Comhairle. Will the Minister tell us whether there will be strong social clauses that affect the neighbourhoods around the stadia?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

There absolutely will be strong social clauses. Casement Park is in West Belfast, Windsor Park is in South Belfast, and Ravenhill is beside the Cregagh estate. All three are distinct areas with distinct needs. Those constituencies need opportunities, but so do surrounding areas. Therefore, our social clauses will be as strong as they can possibly be to make sure that everybody, where possible, has some opportunity for training, employment, retraining or an apprenticeship. Indeed, we will have a presence in the three stadia well after they are built and delivered.