Brandywell needs DCAL money - MLA

The Brandywell football stadium. 3003JM63
The Brandywell football stadium. 3003JM63

Stormont’s Sports Minister has been accused of dithering over the granting of funding for the redevelopment of Brandywell stadium.

Responding to an Assembly Question from Derry SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood this week, Carál Ní Chuilín confirmed her Department had allocated at least £2million towards the Daisyfield/Showgrounds as part of City of Culture capital legacy project.

But she said the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has “awarded no funding to Derry City Council for the redevelopment of Brandywell Stadium.”

“People in Derry have been left confused over what exactly Minister Ni Chuilin’s plans for the stadium are and that confusion is now turning to anger as time passes without a commitment from her department to back the Brandywell project,” Mr Eastwood said.

“Derry City Council have already committed to the project with funding of £2.7m but that investment must be at least matched by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure as a matter of urgency for the stadium project to be realised.

“Rumour and speculation that the funding may be made available is simply not acceptable, it is time for the minister to step up the plate and make a formal offer to Derry City Council to bankroll the bulk of the project.”

He said local anger was well founded considering “the minister saw fit to grant £110 million for three major stadium redevelopment projects in Belfast last year.”

“Yet still fans of Derry City are left pondering what the future holds for their beloved yet dilapidated home ground,” he said.

The Foyle MLA challenged the minister to commit “as a matter of urgency” and grant the money needed for the long awaited stadium redevelopment plan.