Eastwood challenges McGuinness on Magee expansion pledge

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood pictured at the Magee campus of the University of Ulster.
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood pictured at the Magee campus of the University of Ulster.
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SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has told the Assembly that Derry will hold Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to his promise to spearhead the campaign for Magee expansion.

Speaking during an Assembly debate this week, Mr Eastwood said the expansion of Derry’s university campus is “a fundamental economic issue” that needs “to be handled at the very top”.

“I am glad to see that the Deputy First Minister said he would spearhead the campaign. We are going to hold him and the Executive to that,” he told the Assembly.

Mr Eastwood added: “There was no proper mention of the expansion of Magee in the Programme for Government. It said that they wanted to develop the One Plan, but, as far as I was concerned, we had already developed it. What we need to do is implement it, and we needed specifically to mention Magee and some of the other aspects of the plan in the Programme for Government.

“There was no specific mention of the expansion of Magee and no budget given to the Minister to make it happen.”

He said university expansion would be key to the success of the North West Regional Science Park which was officially opened in the city this week.

He added: “This is fantastic but, if we want to properly maximise and utilise that opportunity, we need to ensure that we have high-tech graduates going from the University of Ulster at Magee into that site so that we can build another building at Fort George, employ more people and ensure that we have more people in the city earning a decent wage and contributing to the economy for the whole of the North.”