Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


30-0 - Lisburn stays united for Maze stadium

TEAM Lisburn City Council' has recorded a score of 30-nil in favour of the proposed national stadium being constructed at Maze after councillors set aside any party differences to give the scheme their full backing at the monthly meeting.

There is growing speculation the outgoing Finance Minister Peter Robinson is about to give the the plan the thumbs down, but his DUP colleagues in Lisburn are still giving the stadium their wholehearted backing.

Alderman Edwin Poots, who is also the Culture, Arts and Leisure minister, left no doubt where he stood.

And Mr Poots claimed the construction of the stadium on the site of the former H blocks was something 'every member' of Lisburn Council supported.

The Minister was responding to comments by Alderman Ivan Davis who said he hoped people in power at Stormont would 'take the right decision.

Mr. Davis also said the council could not be blamed if the stadium was not ultimately constructed at Maze but added he felt it was 'fighting a losing battle' on the issue.

"The Council has always supported the Maze Stadium and we still support the Maze Stadium," he continued.

Mr. Davis praised recent comments by leading Northern Ireland journalists supporting Maze as the site of the stadium.

The Maze is also the location favoured by Ulster Rugby as well as the Irish Football and Gaelic Athletic Associations. Comments at the weekend by the Chief Executive of the IFA suggested Northern Ireland could end up playing their home football matches outside the Province if the Maze is turned down.

However, a large number of Belfast councillors believe the stadium should be constructed in the city and have suggested a site close to George Best Belfast City Airport - despite the GAA - who would provide the bulk of the spectators - repeatedly insisting the Maze was the only site they would support.

There was widespread cynicism from supporters of the Maze when it emerged the projected cost of building the stadium would be substantially higher than its reported 100m price tag. They believe it was designed to prepare the ground for a refusal and pointed out the continual delays in giving it the go-ahead inevitably meant the price would rise.

Mr Robinson has said that if the stadium did not go ahead, something would be built on the site.

He also said if the stadium was not given the green light, stadia across Northern Ireland would be improved.

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Ulster Star