THE Casement Park project is in “good shape”, according to a senior civil servant in charge of delivering the new stadium.

Colum Boyle, the permanent secretary at the Department for Communities (DfC), was giving evidence to the Assembly committee charged with overseeing the redevelopment of the Andersonstown GAA venue. 

UEFA officials visited the West Belfast site on Wednesday, a week after the GAA began clearing the derelict ground and the Irish government pledged €50million to redevelop the new stadium, which is one of ten venues in Ireland and the UK set to host Euro 2028. 

Speaking today at the committee, Mr Boyle said: “Actually, we’re in good shape, in terms of what is an exceptionally challenging programme of work – Casement Park is really, really difficult.

He added: “We’ve been working very closely with our funding partners to look at how the funding should be taken forward. We had a technical visit from Uefa yesterday and the day before.

“So we’re live on absolutely every line that we need to be alive on and I’m continuing to resource the team that we have with a level of expertise that we need. So we’re progressing, we’re progressing well. I’m comfortable with how we’re progressing."

He said there are "clear issues about the level of funding that’s required".

"You never know the level of funding you need for these things in definitive terms until you test the market, until you procure and, yes, there are estimates in business case terms and I’ve seen lots of figures bandied about.

“We haven’t bandied any figures about. We won’t be bandying any figures about – that’s all very commercial, it’s all very sensitive and, as soon as you start talking numbers, then what you’re saying to people out there who are bidding for the work is ‘well, just you start at that level and work your way up’.

“So we’re very, very conscious of the commercial sensitivities of all of that. So I’m in a reasonably confident position in terms of everything that we could do, we’ve done. But we have significant obstacles still to consider and some of those obstacles are outside of our control. And that’s a big factor, particularly around funding. So that’s the issue for partners in the round.”