AS dawn broke over Andersonstown on Monday morning, it heralded not just the beginning of a new week, but the long-awaited first steps on the development of Casement Park.

Just after 8am, there was movement inside the now derelict stadium with pre-enabling works getting underway as the clear-out began ahead of what is planned to lead to construction later in the year.

It wasn't anything earth-shattering on Monday – that is planned for April when the old terracing will be ripped up and removed – but simply a clean-up operation to prepare the site for the heavier lifting to come.

Residents and local businesses were informed at the end of last week of the initial timeline that will see the current operation continue of ground works until the end of March before site clearance that is expected to run from April until the end of June. Initial work is set to take place from 8am until 6pm from Monday to Friday and until 1pm on Saturdays.

Whilst there's still a long road ahead with a contractor to be appointed and the additional funding to be confirmed, following a decade of uncertainty and frustration, there is now tangible evidence of the project getting underway.

Initial plans for the redevelopment that were drawn up in 2011 have been replaced following a judicial review in 2014 that quashed the granting of planning permission for a 38,000 capacity stadium one year earlier. A new design has reduced the capacity to just over 34,500 and planning permission was granted in 2021 and upheld following another legal challenge that was rejected in 2022.


The cost of the new stadium has spiralled from those initial plans that put the figure at £77.5m, but now that may require upwards of £110m in additional funding.

With the new stadium set to hosts games during EURO 2028, there have been positive signs that additional funds will be found to invest in the redevelopment and Monday's initial work is another sign that it is moving in the right direction.

The Department for Communities (DfC) is leading the procurement of the main construction contract for the project through UK Government frameworks for major strategic infrastructure projects.   

Ulster GAA and the Irish Football Association have been working closely together in recent years and Tom Daly, Ulster GAA Stadium Board Chairman said they were delighted the iconic stadium had been named as one of the ten host venues for the UEFA EURO Championships in 2028. 

Commenting on the announcement Tom Daly said: “Commencing works on site has always been a crucial milestone for the redevelopment of Casement Park and we are looking forward to this exciting new phase of the project with a targeted timeline for the delivery of Ulster GAA’s provincial stadium and Antrim’s new home.  

“It has been a long and frustrating journey to get to this point, however this is an important step forward as we prepare for the delivery phase of the project. Casement Park will host some of the largest and most significant GAA games on the island and it will also be a seven day a week hub that the whole community can access and enjoy.  


“With Casement Park being the only regional venue that can host unique global events such as EURO 2028, we are also delighted to support our friends and colleagues at the Irish FA by providing the stadium as a tournament venue for the bid and we are excited by the opportunities that this will create for all of society."

He said Ulster GAA will be working with the local community to ensure that they are fully informed on every step of the journey.

"As our team commences this phase of the project, we would like to thank the local community for their support and patience over the last number of years as we plan for an exciting new future for Casement Park.” 

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey said: “It’s fantastic news that work to prepare the site will soon begin at Casement Park.

“This is another welcome and positive step to delivering a first-class, state-of-the-art sporting facility for Ulster Gaels, and to host major games in the Euros and big events.

“Casement Park will be a real economic driver for West Belfast, creating jobs and hosting thousands of people visiting the city to attend games. 

“It’s important that the Irish and British governments and Executive continue to work with the football associations and the GAA to get this flagship project over the line quickly and on time.”

Updates will also be provided on the Casement Park website (, and on Twitter and Facebook.