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By Staff Reporter

The use of public funds to redevelop the three main sports stadia in the North – including Casement Park – has been okayed by Europe.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín yesterday welcomed a decision by the European Commission that the use of public funds for the redevelopment of the regional stadia was in conformity with EU law.

Stormont is spending £110m on Casement Park, Windsor Park and Ravenhill. £60 million is going to build a new 38,000 Casement in the middle of Andersonstown, despite the vocal objections of some local residents.

The Minister said: “I welcome the conclusion that the Director General for Competition at the European Commission has reached that this project is compatible state aid and that financing it was necessary and proportionate.

“This is helpful and allows us to move forward. I will take time to fully read the decision but I want to thank the European Commission for the priority they have given in reaching this decision.”

The Minister also acknowledged the assistance provided by the Barroso Task Force who worked closely with the NI Executive Office in Brussels and the Commission’s Office in Belfast.

She said: “I very much appreciate the support and guidance of the Barroso Task Force.

“Although they were not involved in the technical decision, they helped us to understand how to approach and work through this complex issue.

“Their assistance demonstrates the value of our engagement with the European Commission in recent years.”

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