Casement Park funds guaranteed even if stadium misses out on Euro 2028 games insists Taoiseach Harris

Photo showing Casement Park GAA stadium
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)


The Taoiseach has made clear that Irish Government funding for Casement Park is guaranteed regardless of whether the stadium hosts games during Euro 2028.

Simon Harris said the €50million commitment was not dependent on the West Belfast venue being part of the joint UK/Irish hosting of the showpiece football tournament.

His comments come amid mounting speculation that the stadium is set to be axed as a venue for 2028. The derelict west Belfast ground has been earmarked to play host to five Euro 2028 matches.

Read more: Casement Park funding plans shelved until after General Election

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However, the funding required to build the stadium in time for the tournament is still not in place, prompting concerns that the delays will see Belfast missing out on the tournament.

Ulster GAA and the Irish FA recently wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asking the Government to bridge the funding gap. On a recent visit to Belfast, Mr Sunak insisted the Government will make a “substantial contribution” to the redevelopment but refused to say how much or if it will happen in time for Euro 2028.

Mr Sunak has said a funding decision will not come until after the General Election and shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Hilary Benn has warned that Labour will not offer a blank cheque to the project if his party comes to power after July 4.

There have been reports that the projected costs of the rebuild could soar as high as £308 million in a worst-case scenario. In 2011, the Stormont executive committed £62.5 million to the project. Earlier this year, the Irish Government offered 50 million euro towards it and the GAA has said it will contribute £15 million.

Mr Harris was asked on Wednesday whether his government’s commitment would be in doubt if Casement was scrubbed as a Euro 2028 venue.

“No, not at all,” he told reporters in Clones, Co Monaghan.

“But I think it’s really important that everybody tries to seize the huge opportunities that that championship could provide.”

His ministerial colleague Heather Humphreys echoed the Taoiseach’s remarks, insisting that the Government remained “absolutely committed to the investment in Casement Park”.

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