Heron Bros loses stadium job


Heron Bros. Limited has been taken off the main works contract for a new sports stadium in Belfast.  

Credit: Ulster GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association).

Ulster GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) is currently seeking a new main contractor for the construction of Casement Park in Andersonstown Road. 

Casement Park is the principal Gaelic games stadium in Belfast, serving as the home ground of the Antrim hurling and Gaelic football teams. 

“We are working closely with our partners in the Department for Communities (DfC) to progress procurement of a contractor using recognised frameworks for major construction projects,” the GAA said. 

Despite Heron Bros. demonstrating its “capacity and capability” to bring the project forward without joint venture partner Buckingham Group, Public Contract Regulations prevent Ulster GAA from “pursuing its preferred option of retaining and modifying the existing contract for the project”. 

This is primarily to do with the passage of time and the associated impact on project costs since it was first awarded more than 10 years ago, a Heron Bros. spokesperson said.

Ulster GAA said it will bring forward critical aspects of the construction programme including site clearance and enabling works, to progress the project while hunting for a new principal contractor, which it hopes to secure “in the coming months”.  

It added it is “determined and confident” construction will commence in line with the timeline to host the UEFA EURO Championships in 2028.   

Buckingham Group, a £700 million turnover business, formally entered administration in September after 36 years of trading, resulting in the loss of nearly 450 jobs.  

Kier Group agreed to acquire all the Group’s rail assets, and its HS2 contract, for £9.6 million. 

Shortly after its collapse, Rayner Rowen Construction took over from Buckingham Group at the Anfield Road Stand site for Liverpool Football Club, and Mace at the St. Andrew’s stadium redevelopment for Birmingham City Football Club.  

Ulster GAA added: “Ulster GAA sincerely thanks Heron Bros Limited for its commitment to this project and its work over the past ten years. In particular, we want to highlight the work undertaken with the local community in other connected projects, including the Casement Park Social Club.” 

A spokesperson for Heron Bros said: “Heron Bros Ltd is disappointed with the news that Ulster GAA has been left with no choice but to bring the current procurement process for the rebuild of Casement Park to an end due to technical restrictions within the Public Contract Regulations.

“We have remained committed to the Casement Park redevelopment project for more than 10 years and will now await details of any future procurement exercise before considering the potential for our company to be involved in any future bid to deliver the important stadium project.”

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