A £76 million redevelopment of Casement Park in Belfast has been given the go-ahead by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.
It comes more than 10 years after the development was first announced.
Minister Mallon announced her decision to recommend planning approval earlier today (Tuesday).
As a result, the Ulster GAA Council will be able to build a new 34,578 capacity stadium on their existing site on the Andersonstown Road in Belfast.
Minister Mallon said: “Today marks a significant step in the redevelopment of Casement Park. The Ulster Council of the GAA can now move forward with their ambitious plans for the regeneration of the stadium.
“Since taking office I have stressed the need for progression of this long awaited application. I acknowledge that this approval was not an easy decision, there has been an extensive consultation process due to the complexities of the application and the level of public representation in relation to the proposal.
“I recognise the impacts on residential amenity from the proposed development but ultimately I had to weigh such impacts with the social and economic benefits that would result from the completion of this project and I truly believe that the Casement Park stadium will be successful.
“The new stadium is of high quality design and will become a renowned landmark building which will provide a further catalyst for regeneration of the Andersonstown Road and an economic boost to West Belfast in general. Belfast as a whole shall benefit from this redevelopment, connecting people from across the city, the north and further afield.
“This stadium will boost sports tourism and the economy in the North. Jobs during the construction phase and additional jobs for the daily management are to be welcomed.
“This decision represents a significant boost for our economy, our community and sports across Ulster and across our island.”
Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty welcomed the news delivered by his party colleague.
The 2002 All-Ireland champion said: “This is a significant day for our country and for all Gaels and is great news in what are dark and turbulent days.
“I have very fond memories of playing games on the perfect turf of the ‘Old Casement’ and have been very aware that many of today’s Gaels have come through their inter-country careers without having had the opportunity to play a game on that hallowed turf.
“At long last progress can be made on the delivery of a world class stadium fit for Ulster GAA.”
He added: “SDLP Minister Nichola Mallon has acted with careful consideration and care and has decided to approve a recommendation for planning approval for Casement Park.
“The ball in now in the Executive’s court to provide the funding promised and required to see construction completed.
“This stadium will be transformative for Belfast, for the nine counties of Ulster and for the GAA right across our island.
“I am delighted that the SDLP has secured this positive decision and we are committed to working with all to ensure the delivery of this project that will not only transform our sporting community here but will deliver an economic boost though construction and then when the stadium is operational.”
“This weekend sees the belated start to the National League Campaign and I can think of no better way than to start that campaign with an acknowledgment from Government here of the GAA and every Gael across this island and abroad. In recent months, our communities have come through very tough times and we will do so again in the days ahead, but the GAA really did step up when people needed it most.
“In every community the GAA was at the heart of the community response to Covid, this will go some way to recognise the crucial role of the GAA on our island.
“I am excited for what this will do for the GAA in Belfast, Antrim and Ulster.
“I look forward to an Armagh – Tyrone Ulster final being played out there in a new world class GAA stadium in the heart of West Belfast in the near future to hear the crowds cheer on the men in Orange.”