Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Newspaper claims Robinson plans to ditch Maze Stadium

A REPORT in the Guardian newspaper claims Finance Minister Peter Robinson is set to ditch plans for a �140m national sports stadium on the site of the Maze prison in one of his last acts before taking over as First Minister.

The report says the plan for the shared stadium for football, rugby, and gaelic will be abandoned and the site will be used instead for a leisure and retail complex.

Speaking after the publication of the story, Mr Robinson confirmed a decision should be taken by the end of this month.

And he confirmed that if the stadium did not go ahead, something would be built on the site.

"I don't think it is sufficient to say that if the Maze was not to proceed that we would walk away and do nothing with it," he said. "No more is it sensible to say that if the Maze was not to go ahead that we would do nothing with football, rugby and GAA facilities elsewhere."

The Maze is the only site on which the three sports bodies here have all agreed on and the GAA have made it clear they will not support any alternative scheme.

Opposition has come from some unionists who are opposed to the planned conflict resolution centre in a former H block on the site. Some soccer supporters' clubs have also campaigned against it but the bulk of the opposition has come from Belfast based politicians.


Belfast City Council have claimed there has been interest in building a 25,000 capacity football-only ground to replace Windsor Park as the home of the national team, but so far they have not revealed any concrete proposals.

If Mr Robinson scraps the Maze plan they will be under immediate pressure to deliver on their claims that a number of developers are anxious to build the stadium in Belfast.

Rugby will almost certainly be happy to remain at a refurbished, larger capacity Ravenhill, while the GAA will receive millions to improve facilities at Casement Park in West Belfast.

Ulster Star