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With a contractor yet to be appointed to deliver the new Casement Park stadium in Belfast to host EURO 2028 football, a government body has now commenced the process of hiring a senior expert to oversee the rebuild.
In November, a significant blow was landed when the existing contractors pulled out of the multi-million project.
As reported on Thursday by the Belfast Telegraph, the Strategic Investment Board (an instrument of the Northern Ireland government) is seeking to appoint an experienced individual capable of managing “politically challenging” situations.
The technical director will need to hit the ground running, given the scope of work required for a complete rebuild of the GAA venue in west Belfast, one of the venues selected as part of the successful UK and Ireland bid for the European Championships.
Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland side play their home games at Windsor Park – also the home of Linfield FC – but stadium capacity limitations, as well as a protracted political situation locally involving the rebuild of Casement Park, mean it will miss out on the action four years from now.
An Ulster GAA spokesperson said, “There are some additional personnel being appointed to assist with the delivery phase for the project including the post mentioned in SIB. These resources will work alongside the existing project leadership team.”
No interviews yet from new Communities Minister Gordon Lyons (DUP) … but a spokesperson for his Department has answered some questions on Casement Park redevelopment. 📌 pic.twitter.com/FekEVAwhU1
— Mark Simpson (@BBCMarkSimpson) February 8, 2024
Race against time for Casement Park
Every passing week matters, given the diggers and hard hats are yet to enter the site.
Just last week, the Irish FA stated its confidence in the redevelopment plan. The Northern Ireland football body commented, following reports UEFA had asked for clarity on the situation, as well as supposedly probing contingency plans if Casement can't be delivered.
The IFA was aware of reports the new stadium project was in danger but it has presented a united front on the massive job ahead:
“We continue to work with all partners on the Euro project and are confident it will be completed in the appropriate timeframe,” an IFA spokesperson said.
“Hosting the Euros will be pivotal for society in Northern Ireland and inspire people here for generations to come.”