Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has suggested that the redevelopment of Casement Park will be completed on time to ensure that Northern Ireland does not miss out on the opportunity to host the Euro 2028 soccer championships.

The redevelopment of the Belfast GAA stadium, which is estimated to cost £308 million, has been plagued with controversy and delays, with reports stating that European soccer body UEFA could ax the stadium from the list of Euro 2028 host venues. 

Speaking at the British Irish Council on Friday, Heaton-Harris said an announcement on the funding of the stadium will be made after the British general election on July 4. 

The Stormont Executive has pledged £62.5 million toward the project, with the GAA and Irish Government pledging £15 million and £42.5 million respectively. 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the UK Government will provide a "substantial contribution" to the project but has yet to provide a figure. 

Asked on Friday about whether the UK Government was going to renege on its commitment to Casement Park, Heaton-Harris appeared to suggest that this was not the case. 

"I think you’ll find that there’ll be an announcement almost certainly by the new government on this in the future, which will suggest the premise of your question might not be correct," Heaton-Harris told reporters on Friday. 

Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly said discussions are likely to take place after the July 4 elections. 

"There have been a number of discussions and, as indicated, it is likely that this issue will be touched on again after the General Election, but we’re not anticipating any news prior to the General Election certainly on it," Little-Pengelly said on Friday. 

Sinn Féil MLA Aisling Reilly said it would be "unthinkable" if Northern Ireland lost out on the opportunity to host Euro 2028. 

"It’s unthinkable that we would miss out on the opportunity to host the Euros, particularly when we’re seeing it being played on our screens now in Germany and we see the buzz around Germany," Reilly said. 

"Imagine seeing that in Belfast, imagine seeing that in the North and the opportunities that that would afford us. So for me not having Casement built is unthinkable."