We need a modern stadium in Derry

The Brandywell football stadium. 3003JM63

The Brandywell football stadium. 3003JM63

0
Have your say

Commenting on ongoing criticisms regarding the much needed Brandywell redevelopment Sinn Féin’s Maeve McLaughlin MLA (Foyle) has said that Sinn Féin is the only Party to have put forward serious proposals to address the issue.

In this article Derry Sinn Fein councillor Maeve McLaughlin speaks about the urgent need to move on the Brandywell redevelopment issue. She says noone can dispute the need for a modern stadium in Derry and as the council approaches consideration of the rates process in early January it should actively explore borrowing options to ensure delivery of the complete Brandywell regeneration project.

Commenting on ongoing criticisms regarding the much needed Brandywell redevelopment Sinn Féin’s Maeve McLaughlin MLA (Foyle) has said that Sinn Féin is the only Party to have put forward serious proposals to address the issue.

Maeve McLaughlin said: “No one can dispute the need for a modern stadium in Derry, no one can dispute that we need a wider regeneration plan that delivers benefits for the Brandywell and residents of the surrounding area. This argument has been won and the Foyle Valley Gateway is identified as part of Derry’s Regeneration plan to deliver the desired outcome.

“The questions are how do we deliver it? And how do we finance and support it?

“We will of course require a financial investment from the Assembly and in particular the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) but let’s not fool ourselves that there is a pot of money with our name on it.

“Derry City Council (DCC) as owner of the Brandywell Stadium cannot go cap in hand looking for external funding without bringing something to the table. To its credit (DCC) has ring-fenced £2m towards the Brandywell stadium - but where will the rest come from?

 “Two years ago this month I brought a Sinn Féin motion to DCC calling for a regeneration package for the Brandywell and surrounding areas and calling on council to explore borrowing options. At that stage Council could have borrowed £5m which would have resulted in a penny being added to the rates bill. That proposal despite Sinn Féin making numerous public and private interventions was blocked by other Parties. At the time refusal to support the proposal left many people scratching their heads in disbelief.

“If this proposal had been advanced we could have had a £5m or indeed £7m package which would have shown other potential funders, including DCAL of our seriousness about the project.

It would have allowed us to proceed in a phased approach to the overall development. In many ways those who blocked the Sinn Féin motion for the regeneration package gave away on a number of occasions, in footballing terms, an easy three pointer or a penalty in the ninetieth minute of a cup final.

“As the council approaches consideration of the rates process in early January it should actively explore borrowing options to ensure delivery of the complete Brandywell regeneration project.

“As we move on from the successes of Derry City FC this season and look forward to the opportunities 2013 presents this city ,we should not squander the opportunity to progress this programme”.