Speculation is gathering that the DUP have decided that they will not let the idea of a new stadium at the site of the former Maze Prison proceed. The idea has always been controversial – the Irish Football Association, the Irish Ruby Football Union and the Gaelic Athletic Association are theoretically ‘signed up’ to holding events at a new stadium.
In reality the GAA and the IRFU are lukewarm. The GAA have Casement Park in Belfast, Clones in Monghan and Healy Park in Omagh – not to mention one of Europe’s biggest stadiums at Croke Park in Dublin. Ravenhill is being redeveloped to accommodate Ulster Rugby and their heart is not in the new stadium. The IRFU have not committed to holding any Six Nations matches at the new stadium – fifty years ago when Ireland famously won the Grand Slam in their only ever clean sweep - the matches were played in Dublin and Belfast. 30,000 were squeezed into Ravenhill. Only the IFA are in dire need of new home.