Casement Park: Safety Concerns

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Arts and Leisure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 22 June 2015.

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Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin 3:00, 22 June 2015

I thank the Member for his question. Safety is and must be at the heart of all stadium projects, including Casement Park. Given the range of experience and diverse perspectives on each capital project, we can be sure of one thing: people will not agree at all times. However, we need debate and dialogue to forge the best possible project and programme. The governance structures put in place for the stadium programme ensure that the necessary checks and balances are in place and provide the forum for open debate and dialogue before final decisions are approved.

As I have previously stated, I was aware that a project of this nature would have important public safety aspects to be considered throughout the development process. I am aware that the safety technical group was involved in discussions about safety. However, the first that I was made aware of the allegations that safety concerns had been ignored was when the chair of the safety technical group gave evidence to the CAL Committee on 30 April. I was shocked by that and, as a result, commissioned an independent project assessment review (PAR), which took place between 15 and 19 June. A copy of the final PAR report will be published in due course.

I want to make it clear that I am happy for anyone to look at this programme openly and transparently. My Department is fully cooperating with the CAL Committee's inquiry, which I hope will add some objective, constructive analysis to the whole debate.