Council urged to make sure Brandywell gets redevelopment funds

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Derry City Council has been urged to make sure the Brandywell Stadium gets it share of millions of pounds of redevelopment funding.

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney says reports that a deal between Linfield and the IFA for the use of Windsor Park could release around £30million for the development of other stadia.

“The announcement that the IFA and Linfield Football Club have come to agreement on the future of Windsor Park sets the scene for the release of a second tranche of funding for redevelopment of other stadia throughout the North,” Mr McCartney says.

“As a Council owned facility it is incumbent on Derry City Council (DCC) to act immediately to secure funding for the upgrade of Brandywell Stadium.

“I am therefore calling on the DCC Chief Executive to seek an urgent meeting with the IFA to insist that the Brandywell is included in the allocation of the expected £31million second tranche disbursement.

“While reporting tonight of the agreement between the IFA and Linfield suggested some confusion around the Brandywell’s eligibility to share in the second tranche, any suggestion that the Brandywell does not qualify because of Derry City Football Club’s affiliation to the FAI, must be resisted and dispelled immediately. Derry City FC is only one of a number of tenants who avail of facilities at the Brandywell – it is a Council owned venue and as such comes under the jurisdiction of the Assembly Health and Safety Regulations and therefore qualifies for refurbishment funding on the same basis as any other stadium in the North.”

Mr McCartney says he “will be seeking clarification of the detailed criteria for qualification for this tranche of financial investment to ensure that the Brandywell Stadium receives the required funding to bring the venue up to modern day standards.”

Meanwhile SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood, who has submitted an Assembly question to the DCAL Minister to discover the amount of money available for the Brandywell project and when these monies will become available, says if the money is available it is good news for Derry.

“If this capital funding is indeed forthcoming, it is good news for this city and for Derry City FC fans alike. The Brandywell stadium as it presently stands is not capable of meeting the needs of this city, whether they be footballing needs or commercial needs. A new stadium will hopefully set this right, providing a top class sporting and cultural facility for all the people of Derry,” he says

“I have submitted an assembly question to the DCAL Minister in order to ascertain when and how much of these monies will become available for the redevelopment of the Brandywell’.

“It has been a long wait but hopefully now with the potential of these capital funds, working in partnership with the Council and the Club, Brandywell will be transformed into 21st century facility.”