Attwood: SDLP will continue to work with west Belfast residents on Casement Park decision
“I want first to applaud the residents of Moreland, Owenvarragh and surrounding areas. They have supported the principle of the development of Casement Park but have always said it should be done properly. The issues and concerns that they have raised have been legitimate. That is why the SDLP in West Belfast, and Cllr Tim Attwood in particular have worked with the residents so their concerns could be fully heard, even if not fully heeded by everyone.
“The GAA makes an immense contribution to culture, sports and community. Even in the last days I have met people from the GAA who have the best of intentions and ambitions for their organisation and for West Belfast.
“Much of the power in relation to the Casement project lay with the GAA. They had a very high responsibility to engage properly with the residents, fully acknowledge their concerns and respond to them. The GAA know that I am disappointed that this has not always been the case.
“Relationships have been damaged and questions have not been fully answered by the GAA. I find this a matter of regret.
“West Belfast needs jobs, sustainable development and iconic projects. The decision by the Minister of the Environment is one that I know has been taken with care and diligence informed both by the opportunities the scheme presents and the concerns that have been raised. This was not a straightforward matter in my view for the Minister. He has worked hard to hear concerns.
“Councillor Tim Attwood and I will continue to work with the residents to ensure that their needs are always at the front of the thinking of all, particularly of the GAA. The decision today will have to be closely examined and in that regard I will continue to meet with the residents and the GAA.”