Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


`Take stadium out of Assembly's hands' says Mayor


The Mayor Councillor Ronnie Crawford.LISBURN'S Mayor has written to the Prime Minister asking him to take the National Stadium out of the hands of the Assembly.

This follows speculation that a deal had been agreed to suspend a decision on the National Stadium for four years. Councillor Ronnie Crawford explained that he wrote the letter as a last resort". The whole matter should eventually be investigated by the Public Accounts Committee at Westminster and that is the next step," said Mr Crawford.

In the letter Mr Crawford writes: "The Stadium was designed to be an icon of the renewed hope for a positive future and would offer a stadium for soccer, rugby and gaelic games.

"Sadly the new Assembly has taken every possible action to undermine the project and the speculation now is, that after years of wilful delay, plans for the new stadium are to be scrapped."

He tells the Prime Minister Gordon Brown that he believes that the "vast majority of the people" in Northern Ireland are "very much in favour of the National Stadium". "Indeed Lisburn City Council, in whose area the site lies, has voted unanimously in its support," he said.

Mr Crawford suggested Mr Brown place the building of the National Stadium in the hands of the Olympic Delivery Authority so as to "ensure that the Stadium can be in use by 2012".

He added: "Alternatively, you could arrange for a Maze Development Corporation to be set up so that the its development is not subjected to the type of political discrimination from which it is now suffering."

He concluded: "A new multi-sports National Stadium is exactly what Northern Ireland needs and you will have the grateful support of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland if you will now take action to ensure that our local politicians are no longer allowed to sabotage this exciting project."

Ulster Star