Sunak says UK government will make ‘substantial contribution’ to Casement Park

Prime minister refuses to say how much will be provided or if it will happen in time for Euro 2028

Rishi Sunak has insisted the British government will make a “substantial contribution” to the redevelopment of Casement Park – but refused to say how much or if it will happen in time for Euro 2028.

Speaking during a visit to Belfast, the prime minister said there would be a “wonderful legacy” from the football tournament in Northern Ireland.

The derelict west Belfast ground has been earmarked as a venue for five Euro 2028 matches.

However, uncertainty remains over funding to build the stadium in time for the tournament, with reports suggesting the projected costs could have reached £308 million. In 2011, the Stormont executive committed £62.5 million to the project.


Earlier this year, the Irish Government offered £40 million towards it, and the GAA has said it will contribute £15 million.

Stormont’s Communities Minister Gordon Lyons has repeatedly said he is awaiting further clarity on funding for the stadium.

Mr Sunak was asked about the stadium following the publication of a report that suggested hosting Euro 2028 games would boost Northern Ireland’s economy by more than £100 million.

“We have said that we will make a significant contribution to Casement Park, the conversations are ongoing with the department,” he said. “In all cases what I would also say is there is going to be a wonderful legacy of the Euros here in Northern Ireland.”

Pressed on how much money the government would commit, and when it would be available, Mr Sunak said: “Those conversations are ongoing at the moment, I can’t pre-empt those.”

A study by Grant Thornton has said there will be an expected spend of £52 million (€61 million) on accommodation as well as a further £54 million (€63 million) on other expenditure such as hospitality and retail, if Belfast hosts matches at the Euro tournament.

The study said it is expected that the 150,000 spectators would be made up of 40,000 unique visitors to Belfast along with 90,000 Northern Ireland residents. It said that, with some spectators attending more than one game, the proposed five matches at Casement are expected to generate 180,000 bed nights for Northern Ireland hoteliers and other accommodation providers.

It follows analysis of data from Tourism NI, the Hotel Federation and the Irish FA. - PA