Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



How the National Stadium at the Maze could look


ON Tuesday evening (April 8) Lisburn City Council will welcome the architects behind the National Stadium at the Maze.

HOK Architects will attend a special meeting of the Council's Planning Committee and it expected all councillors will voice their strong support for the development. Chairman of the Council's Planning Committee, Councillor William Leathern said the councillors were looking forward to meeting the architects. "Lisburn City Council is unanimous in its support for the Maze development and for Sports Minister Edwin Poots.

"We welcome the opportunity to meet with HOK architects and thank them for coming from London and giving us the opportunity to hear the plans in detail."

Vice Chairman of the Council's Leisure Services Committee, Councillor David Archer, also welcomed the news that the Maze Architects would be visiting Lisburn City Council. "Next Monday's visit by HOE Sport Architecture comes at a timely point it the debate and will give us a greater insight into the design of the Maze Stadium."

The meeting with Lisburn City Council comes a week after the bosses of the three sports which would use the proposed new stadium at the Maze decided not to attend t: meeting with an assembly committee.

The Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee had asked to meet with Howard Wells of IFA, the GAA's Danny Murphy and Mike Reid of Ulster Rugby.

But the three, who all support the Maze project, have met the committee before and declined the invitation.

"What we don't want is continuing maybes because that doesn't help any of us," said Howard Wells.

"I think what we need is a situation where we actually know what is going to happen and what sort of time frame we're talking about, but we've been saying that repeatedly for months."

The Gaelic Athletic Association, Irish Football Association and Ulster Rugby have all confirmed they would play games at the venue but a political row is threatening the scheme because a proposed conflict

resolution centre would also be built at the former prison.

Some unionists have claimed it would be 'a shrine to terrorism', but Lisburn Council has unanimously backed the redevelopment at the Maze.

So far, in spite of claims there could be an alternative site for a multi-sports stadium, no firm proposal has been forthcoming.

Donaldson calls for Council unity on Maze

LAGAN Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson has labelled recent divisions between Lisburn councillors over the Maze Stadium as "silly nonsense".

Speaking at Monday's full council. meeting, Mr Donaldson made reference to a heated exchange on a radio show between himself and fellow MLA Basil McCrea after claims the DUP have ditched the Maze Stadium.

Mr Donaldson said: "Belfast is laughing. Whatever our differences it is silly to play these games.

"Why not lift the phone up to speak to colleagues instead of going to the media? Damage was done to the Lisburn issue.

"I hope there will be a resolution in this council to stick together. The issue is not helped when we are divided in this chamber."

Norman Davidson, Chief Executive of the Council, agreed saying: "There is no time for divisions.

"The people who will benefit will be those who want the project to go to Belfast. We should make our voices heard. Don't plan for defeat or plan B."

Sinn Féin MLA Paul Butler welcomed Mr Donaldson's comments. "I also welcome the decision by Lisburn council to be more proactive in promoting the site as the only credible location for the stadium" he said.

"Mr. Donaldson's remarks and the council's decision are particularly important against the background of a delay by Minister Edwin Poots and Minister Peter Robinson in responding to the business plan for the location of the stadium.

"I am calling on both ministers to end the uncertainty by supporting their colleagues and indeed Lisburn council by endorsing the business plan and giving the green light to the building of the new stadium."

Ulster Star