Question Time: Culture, Arts and Leisure Monday 1 June 2015

Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Caral Ni Chuilin, provided an update on the redevelopment of Casement Park and Windsor Park during today’s Question Time. Construction work at Casement Park has been delayed following the outcome of the judicial review in December 2014 while the judgement is reviewed to ensure all points raised by Justice Horner are taken into consideration. Ms Ni Chuilin affirmed, “There remains a strong resolve within the Ulster Council of the GAA to submit a new planning application. I anticipate that a 12-week planning consultation process to support the planning application process will commence in the coming months. ” The Minister is optimistic that the redevelopment of Windsor Park is progressing well “notwithstanding the recent issues regarding the west stand.” Following the demolition of the damaged stand details of the next steps are being developed by the IFA, the insurer and the project team. The Minister was also quick to reassure that the safety of everyone is paramount within all redevelopment plans.

The Minister also discussed the plans for £36m of funding for sub-regional football stadiums. An outline case was developed and submitted to DFP in February 2015. DCAL has been working closely with the IFA to ensure that it is fully aligned with their facility strategy while maintaining the Executive and DCAL priorities for the programme. Details of the programme such as eligibility criteria, funding strands and funding limits are currently being finalised. Preparations for the consultation phase are under way. It should last around 12 weeks, giving clubs around the North plenty of time to gather as much information as possible in anticipation of applying for funds.

The Minister also answered questions on participation opportunities in sport, funding for marching bands, a cross-community sports programme and angling in West Tyrone.

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