The Ulster Unionist Party’s Communities Spokesperson, Andy Allen MBE MLA, has called on the Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey, to act swiftly to deliver millions of pounds of funding to local football clubs to upgrade facilities and improve safety as part of the ‘Sub-Regional Stadia Programme for Soccer.’
Andy Allen MBE MLA said:
“The local football fraternity has been one of many groups looking on in frustration at the absence of an Executive at Stormont for the past three years.
“This has been due in large part to the delay in delivering the £36 million of funding allocated for the redevelopment of local football grounds, which was approved by the Executive in 2011- almost a decade ago!
“The fact that we now have a new Minister in place at the Department for Communities will give some cause for optimism that clubs will soon be able to access this much needed and long awaited funding to improve facilities and safety.
“I note that the new Minister, Deirdre Hargey – has expressed her determination to see the Casement Park project started ‘at the earliest opportunity.’
“I also note that there has been a suggestion that a new consultation process may be required before the football funding cash can be released.
“If the Minister is determined to press ahead with supporting Casement at the earliest opportunity, then the Minister should be also be doing her utmost to deliver the £36 million promised to clubs in the original Sub-Regional Stadia Programme for Soccer, at the earliest opportunity.
“I therefore call on the Minister to urgently clarify what programmes within her Department require new consultations before funding can be released and in the process provide much needed clarity for those football clubs hoping to benefit from the Sub-Regional Stadia Programme for Soccer, also without delay.”