Residents challenge GAA's Casement Park redevelopment

A new 38,000 all-seater stadium at Casement Park is expected to cost more than £70m

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A west Belfast residents group has launched a formal objection to the proposed new 38,000 seater GAA stadium at Casement Park.

The Mooreland and Owenvarragh Residents Association (MORA) has given a petition and letter of objection to the Department of Environment.

Work on the stadium is due to start in early 2014, with a view to hosting GAA fixtures at the ground by 2016.

But the residents group said the proposed new stadium is too big.

They describe it as a "monstrosity" and claim it will reduce the quality of life of people living beside it.

But GAA chiefs said it would enhance west Belfast socially and economically creating an estimated 1,400 jobs in the construction industry and would bring "significant GAA events back to Belfast for the first time since the 1970s".

A spokesperson said Ulster GAA had been in discussions with the residents group since April 2012.

'Earliest convenience'

"Ulster GAA have listened and used the residents and other stakeholders feedback in the development process," he said.

"The GAA also compromised significantly on the design and capacity of the development following ongoing engagement with MORA."

The spokesperson said MORA had recently withdrawn from discussions with the GAA.

"While this is regrettable, the GAA wants to re-engage with the group at the earliest convenience to review the operational issues as part of the stadium redevelopment."

The stadium has yet to gain final planning approval.

The cost of the new state of the art stadium is expected to top £70m.

Most of the funding is coming from the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL).

The redevelopment forms part of an overall £110m investment plan involving upgrades to the Ulster rugby ground at Ravenhill and Windsor Park football stadium.

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