Dunne – Euro 2028 is good but no blank cheques

North Down MLA Stephen Dunne, the DUP’s Northern Ireland Assembly spokesman on Sport, has said whilst we support the joint Euro 2028 bid, the idea of Casement Park being given a blank cheque with additional public funds needs a reality check.

By Stephen Dunne MLA

North Down

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Mr Dunne said,

“We support the joint Euro 2028 bid, but we will oppose any plans to allocate additional resources to meet the GAA’s shortfall in the Casement Park project from NI Executive budgets at a time when hospitals and schools need additional and necessary resources.

If the Government is going to find additional resources for Casement Park, then they will need to also step up and fund our schools and health infrastructure properly and ensure the sub-regional football stadia strategy is funded.

In March 2022 the then DUP Education Minister Michelle McIlveen announced a £794 million investment for 28 new schools benefiting some 25,000 pupils. This has since been paused due to budget pressures. It is unacceptable and inequitable that whilst major infrastructure projects have been paused due to budget constraints, at the same time the Secretary of State is telling the GAA that there is no issue with finding money to build a new facility at Casement Park.

When we met the IFA earlier this year, we explained that we do not support additional funding for the building of Casement Park in Belfast beyond what was originally allocated by the NI Executive to the three sporting bodies.

There also needs to be discussion about the legacy for domestic football from holding such a tournament.”

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