Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA today outlined some of her priorities including her determination to get Casement Park built.
The Minister was speaking after she met with Ulster GAA officials at Casement Park to discuss the future plans for the project.
Minister Hargey said: “The completion of Casement Park is a key priority under the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement.
“I am determined to do all I can to see the project started at the earliest opportunity.
“As we can see from the redevelopment of the Windsor Park Stadium and the Kingspan Stadium, these projects have a positive impact for the whole community, which goes far beyond the benefits for sport.
“I have spoken to my Executive colleagues about the need for the complex approval processes to be concluded with pace, and I was pleased to meet with Ulster GAA officials to reaffirm my commitment to get Casement built.”
The Minister then visited Street Soccer NI based in the Skainos Centre, Belfast, a football project that engages with disadvantaged groups, such as the homeless, drug and alcohol dependent, refugees, asylum seekers and long-term unemployed.
Speaking after meeting some of the players and managers the Minister said: “One of the key roles of my Department is to tackle disadvantage and promote equality.
“Street Soccer is a great example of the power of sport as a catalyst for social and personal change. I was delighted to hear firsthand from the participants how this project has benefitted them, their families and the wider community.”
Discussing some of the immediate issues on her desk the Minister said: “There are big challenges facing our housing and welfare system, but these are issues I will not shy away from. I want to ensure that everyone has access to a good quality, affordable and sustainable home – homes that build communities. One of my priorities, will be to bring forward legislation as soon as I can to reverse the decision to reclassify housing associations to ensure that the sector can continue to build new social housing.
“In addition, in line with what was agreed under ‘New Decade, New Approach’, I want to reassure people in receipt of welfare mitigations that I will extend this package beyond 31March 2020.”
The Minister concluded: “I will work to challenge austerity and welfare cuts and will provide a reaffirmed commitment to protect the most vulnerable and embed human rights standards in all that we do.”