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18 Jan 2022

Cllr Tierney: Decision needed on stadium funding

Derry council calls for Phase 2 Brandywell stadium development

The new Brandywell stand after it was completed in 2018. However, Phase Two of the stadium's redevelopment has yet to proceed.

Local councillor, Brian Tierney, has urged Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to make a decision on the long-awaited phase two of the Sub-Regional Stadia Programme.

Cllr Tierney, who represents the Ballyarnett ward, said the project would impact on a number of local clubs in Derry, including both Derry City FC and Institute FC

The SDLP man said that Derry City & Strabane District Council and the clubs had been waiting since 2016 for the second phase of the programme to commence and that action to ensure that both Derry City and Institute, along with the community, would see the full benefits.

He has written to Minister Hargey to ask her to make a decision on the future of the funding before the end of the current Assembly mandate.

Cllr Tierney said: “At my request council officers arranged a meeting between councillors and officials from the Department for Communities to discuss the possible opening of the second phase of this scheme which has been talked about since 2016.

“Funding from this scheme would help local clubs prepare for the future and bring their grounds up to a modern standard.

“There are a number of stadiums that would be able to commence improvement works as soon as the funding is improved, not least phase two of the Brandywell Stadium redevelopment that was guaranteed by Sinn Féin over five years ago.

“The council and clubs across our area have been long awaiting an announcement on the scheme and we had hoped to see progress long before this point.

“I was disappointed to hear from officials that there is currently no timeframe for it to open.

“I understand that a wide consultation has taken place with clubs across the North and that any movement on the scheme requires a Ministerial decision.

“My party colleague Mark H Durkan has been raising this issue with Minister Hargey since Stormont was restored two years ago and she has still done nothing to make good on her party’s promise regarding this funding.

“The failure to provide proper investment is holding back a number of clubs from across Derry and Strabane who have the ability to play at a higher level, but unfortunately do not have the facilities required to meet the standards for entry in higher divisions.

“We have seen how successful the first phase of this funding was for Derry City who have seen massive improvements at the Brandywell, but there is still outstanding work to be done.

“There is also a need for improvements at Dergview in Castlederg and Institute are still searching for a permanent home after their ground was destroyed by flooding in 2017.

“We need to see Minister Hargey deliver on her party's previous commitments so that our football clubs can reach their potential and provide facilities to benefit the entire community.”

In response, a Department for Communities spokesperson said: “The Minster is actively considering the outcomes of the refresh and re-engagement exercise undertaken in relation to the Sub Regional Stadia Programme.”

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