independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Casement Park upgrade go-ahead

Casement Park is to undergo a significant redevelopment

Plans for a new 38,000-seater stadium on the site of Casement Park in Belfast have been given the go-ahead.

The new stadium is designed by the same company -- Mott MacDonald -- responsible for the breathtaking swoops of the Aviva Stadium and the vastness of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. The Ulster Council are predicting that some of the 2016 Ulster championship could be hosted there.

Ulster Council secretary Dr Danny Murphy is delighted with the comfort and ease the fans will have in the new showpiece venue.

The view which will be experienced by the spectators will be rated by the 'The C-Scale.' The bulk of seats will have a C-70 view, the optimum rating, with many of them in the maximum range of C-90.

"That means you have absolutely no restriction. You can see the sideline from any seat that has a C-90 classification. No impediment to your view of the game," said the Ulster official.

Murphy believes the gates will be open for a range of GAA activities across the board.

"We want to see the stadium utilised, once it's built," he said. "There is no point building it and just playing major games there. We want to play primary schools games, underage games, ordinary run-of-the-mill games in Antrim as well as McKenna Cup and National League games."

Despite the good news, Murphy still feels that something was lost when the prospect of a multi-sports stadium disappeared.

"We were major supporters of the multi-sports stadium. We feel that a multi-sports stadium would have been a huge statement for Ulster; rugby, soccer and ourselves would have all supported it," he said.

"It didn't happen and the money that was to be provided for the sports stadium was reassessed by the Northern Ireland Executive, who determined that the three stadia (Casement Park, Ravenhill and Windsor Park) would be rebuilt to our strategic needs."

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