The University for Derry group has warmly welcomed the Northern Ireland Executive’s creation of a sub-group of ministers to tackle regional imbalances in the Northern Ireland economy, initially focusing on the North West.
U4D chair Padraig Canavan said: “The creation of the ministerial sub-group is a very positive move. It has potentially enormous significance for the economy of Derry-Londonderry and the North West.
“U4D hopes and believes this will lead to the expansion of Magee to become a full sized university campus - more than doubling it in size. This is in line with the agreed objective of the city’s One Plan. To achieve this will be the result of 50 years of demands by the population of Derry for our city to become a recognised ‘university city’.
“We are reassured by the personal commitments by the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to the implementation of the One Plan, with its centrepiece of Magee’s expansion to a university institution of 9,400 full time equivalents. The One Plan projected that 2,800 new jobs would be created by 2020 and 7,700 new jobs by 2030 with the implementation of proposals to expand Magee. The Deputy First Minister has spoken strongly in favour of the substantial expansion of Magee and we thank him for this - and also those other ministers and MLAs who have supported the expansion of Magee.
“It is cruelly evident from Derry’s unemployment statistics - the worst in the UK - that job creation is desperately needed in the North West. Expanding our university to provide the skills needed for the modern economy and in addition to directly stimulate the economy through the spending of the University, its staff, its students and its visitors is the most effective method we have to improve our local economy.
“We strongly congratulate the Executive on the steps it has taken.”