WEST Belfast MP Paul Maskey has said that finding a contractor to begin work on Casement Park ahead of Euro 2028 must be a top priority.

It comes after it was announced that long-standing construction contractor Heron Bros Limited will not proceed to deliver the main works contract for the new stadium. 

It was announced back in 2013 that the stadium would be rebuilt in a joint venture by the England-based Buckingham Group and local firm Heron Bros. In September, the Buckingham Group went into administration.

In a statement, Ulster GAA said: "We are determined and confident that construction work will commence in line with the timelines required to host the Uefa Euro Championships in 2028.


"Ulster GAA is bringing forward critical aspects of the construction programme to progress the project, at pace, during the process to secure a new main contractor in the coming months, including site clearance and a range of enabling works packages."

Ulster GAA said that Heron Bros "participated fully in a recent due diligence exercise" after the Buckingham Group went into administration, which showed their "capacity and capability to bring this project forward".

However, it added that it "has become clear that the restrictions of the Public Contract Regulations prevent Ulster GAA from pursuing its preferred option of retaining and modifying the existing contract for the project".

Heron Bros said it was disappointed with the news "that Ulster GAA has been left with no choice" but to end the contract due to "technical restrictions".

"We have remained committed to the Casement Park redevelopment project for more than 10 years and will now await details of any future procurement exercise before considering the potential for our company to be involved in any future bid to deliver the important stadium project," it added.

The Department for Communities said it was "progressing the options available" to find a new contractor.

"We remain fully committed to the delivery of this flagship project, which is uniquely placed to boost the development of both Gaelic games and football, as well as offering long-term economic and social benefits in Northern Ireland and beyond."

Paul Maskey said the focus is on getting contractors on the ground and getting Casement Park built now.

“Hosting Euro 2028 is an exciting prospect and the opportunity of a lifetime," said the Sinn Féin man.

“Alongside the construction of the new Casement Park stadium in West Belfast, it will help to strengthen our local economy, create jobs, and showcase everything that makes our island and people amazing through the power of sport. 

“It will also provide a significant boost to tourism and a real economic driver for West Belfast with thousands of people set to visit the city and the north to attend games. 

“Now is the time to move forward to build Casement Park to ensure we will have a first-class, state-of-the-art sporting facility for Ulster Gaels, and to host major games in the Euros and big events.

“It is important that the Irish and British government work with the football associations and the GAA to get this flagship project over the line quickly and on time.”