Cash or court? Casement residents split

By Ciara Quinn

The Andersonstown News has learned that after two meetings held in the course of the past week residents living near Casement Park are divided between pressing ahead with an intended judicial review to block work on the new Casement or accepting a “significant sum” from the developers to let work begin on the new £78 million stadium.

The two public meetings took place in the Whitefort and the Falls Bowling Club, on Thursday and Monday evening respectively.

And in a new development, following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the Mooreland and Owen-varragh Residents’ Association (MORA) to the PSNI, it has emerged that in the event of any emergencies happening at the ground at full capacity, it would take up to 47 minutes to evacuate “due to insufficient capacity on lower Kennedy Way”.

The PSNI also confirmed that at the time of providing their evidence, they had yet to see a comprehensive Events Management Plan.

In their report the PSNI cited serious concerns around traffic gridlock, access to emergency vehicles and safe entrance and exit for fans.

MORA’s Tony Dignan said they were very worried about the PSNI’s ‘high risk’ rating for emergency services because so many elderly people live in the immediate area.

“Safety should have been paramount in assessing the application for the new stadium,” said Tony.

“We have said all along that even 25,000 is pushing the limits of what this area can safely handle. We can’t understand how the planners couldn’t see that also. That is why we asked for the decision to be reviewed by the courts.”

Following on from last week’s Andersonstown News report over the continuing rows at Casement Social Club, Chairman Bob Murray told the Andersonstown News that the Club was “relieved” to see Vice-Chairman of the Antrim County Board Joe Edwards “publicly acknowledge that he speaks for no-one other than himself”.

Speaking in a personal capacity Mr Edwards had dismissed the claims of CSC members that they were of the belief that new premises for the social club had to be found before they would be required to leave Casement Park.

Mr Edwards pointed to a seven-point agreement that was lodged in the High Court on March 28 including a clause that the social club would “vacate the premises at Casement Park at the request of the Casement Park Project Board – on or before the commencement of demolition and construction of the new stadium”.

The agreement is signed by Antrim Chairman Jim Murray, Chairman of the Casement Social Club Bob Murray (no relation) and Peter Quinn, on behalf of the Ulster Council’s Stadium Project Board.

“Contrary to what the Andersonstown News reported last week, the dispute between the Ulster Council GAA, Casement Park Redevelopment Project Board, Antrim County Board and Casement Social Club has been resolved to the satisfaction of all and is legally binding on all parties,” said Bob. “Moving forward as Gaels there will be no room for disgruntled individuals, regardless of the position that they may hold, as they will have no meaningful or constructive input or influence on these important matters.”

 

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