SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has called on Sinn Fein Minister Carál Ní Chuilín to ‘stop misleading the people of Derry over funding she pledged for the Brandywell’.
Mr Eastwood has urged the DCAL minister to allocate money she promised for the Daisyfield and Brandywell Showgrounds projects as a matter of urgency to allow Derry City Council to forge ahead with extensive redevelopment of the Brandywell stadium.
Derry City Council has already pledged £2.7m for the stadium project but cannot commit to fund the entire £5m redevelopment scheme until at least £2m in funding promised by Minister Ní Chuilín last October is actually received.
The Sinn Fein minister told Mr Eastwood on the floor of the Assembly last week that the money her department pledged for sports projects at the Daisyfield and Showgrounds had been allocated and that preliminary work had begun. Yet in a written answer to the SDLP MLA this week she confirmed no funding has yet been granted to Derry City Council and that the plans for investment were at a ‘very early stage’.”
Mr Eastwood has said the minister is deliberately attempting to mislead the public on the issue.
“Minister Ní Chuilín appears to playing games over the funding of the Brandywell projects. Her comments on the matter are causing great confusion and appear to be designed to mislead the people of Derry.
“The long awaited redevelopment of the partly dilapidated Brandywell Stadium is dependent on the minister allocating the money promised to these projects. Not only has the minister not delivered a single penny for the stadium project but her failure to live up to her promise has stopped the redevelopment scheme in its tracks.
“Derry City Football Club and its fans as well as those driving the Daisyfield and Showgrounds projects have every right to be dismayed and angered by the minister’s failure to make an official letter of offer of the money she promised.
“The minister has granted a whopping £110m for three stadium redevelopment projects in her home city of Belfast and her dithering on the injection of what is in comparison a very small portion of her kitty towards the Brandywell projects is a real kick in the teeth for Derry City, its fans and the general population of city.
“It is time for the Minister to stop attempting to mislead the people of Derry and act on her promise to fund these projects.”