Calls to ‘get Casement Park built’ ahead of Euro 2028 tournament

Calls To ‘Get Casement Park Built’ Ahead Of Euro 2028 Tournament
The Casement Park site is derelict and plans by the GAA to redevelop it with a 34,000 capacity have been mired in controversy and hit by delays. Photo: PA
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By Jonathan McCambridge, PA

The redevelopment of Casement Park must proceed as soon as possible with Ireland and the UK set to host the Euro 2028 football tournament, nationalist and Alliance politicians have said.

But the DUP has said there can be no blank cheque from public money to rebuild the Belfast GAA stadium.


The five-nation bid is now the only option on the table for the 2028 finals after Turkey pulled out of contention.

Casement Park GAA stadium
Nationalist and Alliance Party MLAs have called for work to begin redeveloping the Casement Park site (Niall Carson/PA)

Uefa will formally announce the hosts following a meeting of its executive committee in Switzerland next week.


If the UK and Irish bid is accepted, Casement Park has been listed as one of the stadiums where games would be played.

But the site is derelict and plans by the GAA to redevelop it with a 34,000 capacity have been mired in controversy and hit by delays.

The Casement project has been delayed by a series of legal challenges and is further complicated by the lack of a functioning Executive at Stormont.



The redevelopment has also been hit by rising costs, with an original projected price tag from almost a decade ago of £77.5 million, now believed to have spiralled well above £100 million.

The GAA is part-funding the project but has yet to reach an agreement with Stormont on how to cover a multimillion-pound shortfall.

Sinn Féin’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill said it was the “opportunity of a lifetime”.

In a social media post, she said: “I am absolutely delighted that Casement Park looks set to host Euro 2028 Championship games as the joint bid between Ireland and Britain is to go unopposed.



“This is an opportunity of a lifetime.

“The hosting of this prestigious tournament would grow our economy, create jobs, and showcase everything that makes our island and people amazing.”

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said construction work at Casement Park must now proceed.

He said: “Euro 2028 must be the catalyst to green-light Casement and get it built.

Casement Park GAA stadium
The DUP said there could be ‘no blank cheque from public money’ to rebuild the stadium (Niall Carson/PA)

“We need the stadium ready for the 2028 tournament and, for that, we need to see construction work begin as soon as possible.

“Casement has been left dormant for too long.

“This stadium will be a game changer and a fitting state-of-the-art new home for Ulster GAA. I hope that everyone will come together and do whatever’s necessary to make this happen.”

Alliance Party MLA David Honeyford said: “The bid specifies Belfast’s matches would be played at the new Casement Park stadium, which remains unbuilt and no clear way forward at present.

“We need to look at the bigger picture – hosting Euro 2028 in Belfast would be one of the biggest events to ever happen to this region, with the associated major social and economic benefits along with it.

“We need to see the redevelopment of Casement and we need to see it now.”

Stormont press conference
DUP MLA Stephen Dunne said there needed to be discussion about the legacy for domestic football from hosting the Euro 2028 tournament (Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP MLA Stephen Dunne said his party supported the joint bid, but added that “the idea of Casement Park being given a blank cheque with additional public funds needs a reality check”.

He said: “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.

“When we met the IFA (Irish Football Association) 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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