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Bradley pleased that Stadium Development Fund is moving forward

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BT Coleraine

MLA Maurice Bradley says he is pleased that the Minister for Communities is moving the Regional Stadium Fund forward.

The East Londonderry MLA had the opportunity to question Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey on Monday during Question Time at Stormont.

Bradley asked if additional funding required for the redevelopment of Casement Park would impact other applications to the stadium fund.

Responding Minister Hargey indicated that her department have already been consulting with Councils, the IFA and other stakeholders in relation to the scheme.

She noted that her Department would be meeting with the IFA later this week to discuss further developments, to address current need and also to future proof the fund.

Minister Hargey said: “In March 2011 the Executive also endorsed a programme budget of £36·2 million for a subregional stadia programme for soccer, to be confirmed in a future budget period. On that basis, the Executive endorsed a programme budget of £36·2 million at that time.

I have stated my clear intention to deliver against the commitments in the New Decade, New Approach agreement for both Casement and the subregional stadia programme.

“Given the time that has elapsed, it is important that the programme reflects the current needs of the sector.

“To that end, my officials have been engaging over the past few weeks with key strategic stakeholders, including the IFA, the NI Football League and district councils, to inform the development of detailed plans for delivering a successful subregional stadia programme. Once that engagement is complete, I will consider proposals on how best to take the programme forward, including budget considerations.”

“I am pleased that things seem to be moving on this scheme,” said MLA Bradley.

“I would be hopeful that some of the football clubs within my East Londonderry constituency will benefit from stadium upgrades as a result of this programme, which will be taken forward under the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal.

“It is vital that football gets the investment that it deserves.

“Casement Park is a major project, but I just don’t want to see other clubs getting left behind.

“As a keen football supporter and someone who visits grounds on a weekly basis, there is a clear need for investment to keep grounds up to appropriate standards.”

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