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Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Casement upgrade proposed by GAA

Casement Park
Casement Park in west Belfast is Antrim's county GAA ground

Ulster GAA bosses are proposing that Casement Park should be upgraded to become the premier gaelic games venue in the province with a 40,000 capacity.

Following Sports Minister Gregory Campbell's decision to abandon the Maze project, he asked the three main sporting bodies to submit their ideas.

The GAA gave its proposals to the minister earlier this week.

The ball is now in the court of government as public money would be required to upgrade Casement.

The project is expected to cost around £100m and could be completed by 2013.

Last month, the sports minister confirmed the widespread speculation that he had decided not to proceed with the Maze Stadium project.

Mr Campbell said the plan was not value for money and did not have political consensus.

The minister added that he intended to help the Irish Football Association, Ulster Rugby and the GAA to develop solutions to their stadia needs and the three sporting bodies were all asked to come up with proposals.

Ulster GAA bosses have moved quickly to submit their proposals although government's reaction remains to be seen.

Earlier this week, a business consortium, Eastonville Traders Ltd, proposed the building of a new stadium for football and rugby in the Sydenham area of east Belfast.

It said the arena would have a 20,000-capacity and would be built on a 90-acre site beside the Danny Blanchflower Stadium, but would not host GAA fixtures.

However, Ulster Rugby said it is not committed "in any way" to the proposed new stadium in east Belfast.

Ulster Rugby added that the lack of "any appropriate business case" meant it does not form part of its plans to develop stadia for the sport.

The IFA said it would welcome any proposals "provided the finances stack up".

see also
New stadium planned for Sydenham
25 Mar 09 |  Northern Ireland
Rugby chiefs reject stadium plan
26 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
No sports stadium at prison site
28 Jan 09 |  Northern Ireland
Minister rejects stadium claims
26 Feb 09 |  Northern Ireland

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