We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Casement Park

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Arts and Leisure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 14th September 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Leslie Cree Leslie Cree UUP 3:00 pm, 14th September 2015

5. Mr Cree asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to outline the procedures followed in selecting a team from KSS Design Group to provide detailed technical support to the review team carrying out the project assessment review of the redevelopment of Casement Park. (AQO 8621/11-16)

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

I thank the Member for his question. A shortlist of eight companies that could provide expert advice was identified by the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) using the RIBA database, and that list was reduced to three. Three companies were immediately ruled out as they were already directly involved in the regional stadia programme and projects, another was ruled out as it was not available during the period of the review, and a further company did not respond to CPD's request.

Of the remaining three companies, KSS was deemed to be the most suitable and was, therefore, engaged by CPD. As part of the process to engage the independent technical expert advisers for the review team, CPD specifically sought appropriate conflict-of-interest assurances from the eligible companies to ensure that any company that had previously worked on the regional stadia programme or any of its constituent projects would be ruled not eligible to advise the review team.

Photo of Leslie Cree Leslie Cree UUP

I thank the Minister for her full response. Is she not concerned that the design group that was selected had a direct connection to the contractors that were appointed to carry out the work at Casement?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

The Member raised something similar when I was in front of the Committee, and he will be aware that we are dealing with a very small pool of companies. The connection with that company is with one of the partners that is developing the stadia. They are connected and involved in developing stadia across Britain and, indeed, even other parts of Ireland.

I do not think that there is a conflict of interest and neither does CPD. As the Member will be aware, I deliberately sent the PAR to another Department to look at it, and I asked for the assurance of CPD. It sought assurances and was assured by the response that it got. I do not believe that it is the direct conflict of interest that the Member perhaps perceives it to be.

Photo of Basil McCrea Basil McCrea NI21

Will the Minister tell us what authority she thinks that the Sports Grounds Safety Authority has?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

That is not related to the question at all. However, with the authority and respect that the Sports Grounds Safety Authority has, many people look to it for feedback and guidance. If the Member wishes to ask a relevant question, I will try to answer it.