Page last updated at 19:20 GMT, Thursday, 21 June 2007 20:20 UK

Paisley says no to Ormeau stadium

Soccer, GAA and rugby
Proposals at the Maze include a stadium for soccer, GAA and rugby

First Minister Ian Paisley has ruled out plans for a stadium at Belfast's Ormeau Park, saying it would affect five churches, including his own.

Mr Paisley said it would not be "convenient" to have Sunday School children arriving in buses with a greyhound track outside the door.

He added: "It will not be and I'm told it cannot be under the planning act."

Belfast City Council is considering a possible stadium, incorporating a greyhound park, at the park.

On Wednesday, research commissioned by the council suggested a new national sports stadium for Northern Ireland should have an urban setting.

"Seldom have we experienced such overwhelming evidence for the in-town location," the report stated.

The findings went against proposals for a 35,000-seater stadium for soccer, GAA and rugby at the Maze/Long Kesh site.

On Tuesday, the culture minister said he was not satisfied that plans for a Belfast site for the stadium were viable.

Edwin Poots added that the process could not go on indefinitely.

He said the Maze/Long Kesh Site was the only site able to accommodate "a potentially viable shared stadium for all the sports involved".

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