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The sorry decline of Casement Park

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

12:06 22 Aug 2018

Antrim GAA released pictures of a dilapidated Casement Park on social media on Tuesday and the derelict stadium has since become a microcosm for some wider issues within the GAA community in the county. 

Declan Bogue joined Wednesday's OTBAM to shed some light on the situation, telling Ger: "What's going on here is nothing but inertia over the last number of years. Those photographs that you refer to are so dramatic looking - you talk about urban decay. 

"A number of years ago, some enterprising farmer actually took bales off the pitch - which an awful lot of hurlers who would have come up to play Antrim when they were going well would have said that after Thurles, it was possibly the best hurling surface on the planet.

"But just a brief history of what's going on, in February of 2014 they had been told that their initial plans for a 38,000 seater stadium was being turned back because of the concerns of the height of certain stands and stuff like that. 

"They were very keen to have is an all-seater which I don't really understand. They could have gotten around this by having some kind of terracing but anyway, that was turned down for concerns over safety.  

"And, in February of last year, they submitted another plan, a revised plan, but there has been no word since because really Ger, we're heading for over 500 days of no Stormont government, no Stormont executive and while they thought that some senior civil servants might be able to give the green light on these things - an incinerator project project costing over £200 million was turned down recently, in May of this year, and they have basically said that senior civil servants aren't able to make these decisions. 

"So, Casement Park probably will not be - there'll be no decision until Stormont is up and running again, if ever," he added. 

The ground has been sitting idle since 2013 and development plans have been changed and amended constantly but there has still been little progress on the issue, as Bogue outlined: "What's probably more concerning is that since Antrim handed over this ground to the Ulster Council and don't forget this is more or less Antrim's gift - they basically handed this ground over to the Ulster Council to do what they wanted with it and they would then get to use it off the Ulster Council so it's left Antrim entirely without a ground. 

"They play most of their football at Corrigan Park in west Belfast and they tend to move the hurling games around different clubs and it's just woefully inadequate. 

"Also, this has cost £10 million - this has cost £10 million before a sod has been turned - it's just entirely unacceptable. There's been some mismanagement but also the GAA have had huge roadblocks put in their way and nothing's been above board either," he added.

Listen to the full interview here:

The sorry decline of Casement Park

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

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