Belfast Telegraph

Sports stadium site 'not yet decided'

By Deborah McAleese
06 November 2004

SPORTS Minister Angela Smith today denied reports that the site of the former Maze prison has been officially chosen as the location for the proposed multi-sports stadium for Northern Ireland.

Ms Smith said no neutral site has been found and different sporting bodies have yet to commit to a site, and until that agreement is reached no final decision can be taken.

According to the Minister, the Government is still waiting for final recommendations from the Maze Panel, the body in charge of bringing forward the proposal for the 360-acre site.

She saidany speculation on those recommendations "might be premature."

The Belfast Telegraph yesterday reported that the site has been earmarked as the site for the stadium.

"No decision has been made and it is not true to say that there has been a meeting involving the four main political parties and Downing Street to discuss this issue," the Minister said.

"At the beginning of the appraisal, two basic conditions for the stadium were set - a suitable and neutral site must be found and soccer, rugby and the GAA would have to commit to playing games there.

"At this stage neither of these conditions have been met."

An official announcement on the location of the proposed site is anticipated within weeks. However, the Belfast Telegraph reported yesterday that the Strategic Investment Board has plumped for the 360-acre Maze site on economic, infrastructure and parking grounds.

The other main contenders were sites at Belfast Lough's northern foreshore and the Titanic Quarter in the east of the city.

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