Casement Park: NIO pledge to spend wisely when it comes to cash for Euro 2028 stadium rebuild

Baroness Kate Hoey at an anti-NI Protocol rally in Ballymoney in March 2022. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA
Baroness Kate Hoey at an anti-NI Protocol rally in Ballymoney in March 2022. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Northern Ireland Office minister Lord Caine said the government was also striving to ensure that hosting Euro 2028 would leave a “lasting legacy” for local football.

Concerns have been raised that the government was providing the GAA with a “blank cheque” to redevelop the derelict west Belfast stadium – one of ten venues included in the UK and Ireland’s bid to host the prestigious tournament.​

With the delayed Casement Park project now millions of pounds over budget, and no commitment from the GAA to increase its original £15 million contribution, earlier this year the NI Secretary was asked how the funding shortfall would be addressed.

"We'll get the money, don't you worry," Chris Heaton-Harris told the BBC.

In a written question in the Lords, Baroness Kate Hoey asked: “Following the statement of the Secretary of State for NI in May that the money to redevelop Casement Park will be found, where is it envisaged such money will be coming from?

Lord Caine responded: “Euro 2028 will highlight the enduring strength of the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland, through the unifying power of sport.

“The UK Government is working closely with local partners in Northern Ireland on plans to deliver Euro 2028 events and to make sure Euro 2028 leaves a lasting legacy of football for all.

“We will continue looking at those plans and business cases, to ensure we are making the best use of resources to support the success of Euro 2028”.

Lord Caine added: “The UK Government is, of course, very conscious of delivering the best use of taxpayer funds, particularly at a time of budget challenges in Northern Ireland.”

Last week, Gary McAllister of the Amalgamation of Official NI Supporters Clubs said there must be a “legacy” for local football as a result of hosting Euro 2028.

“Where is the money for football to allow us also to fulfil our needs – the development of coaches, young players, raising the standards of local football?” he said.