Derry schools to learn of funding fate

Foyle and Londonderry College. INLS0711-144KM
Foyle and Londonderry College. INLS0711-144KM

Foyle College and Ebrington Primary school will next month learn if there is money to fund their long awaited move to Clooney.

Derry’s MLAs and governors from both schools met with education minister John O’Dowd yesterday.

Earlier this year the minister said the Foyle/Ebrington plans are one of 53 major capital schemes that are currently being considered by his department.

He said all the schemes under consideration are curtailed by “significant budget cuts.”

It is understood the Sinn Fein minister was yesterday urged to find the funding for the move that in turn frees up 30 acres currently occupied by Foyle.

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey says the move is vital for Derry’s economy.

“If this does not proceed it will have hugely negative repercussions for Derry, not just for the two schools waiting on new buildings but for the potential expansion of Magee University, the development of college sites on the Northland Road and on economic opportunities for people in the north-west.

“The cost to our city is too great for the Sinn Fein Minister to allow departmental budgetary constraints to abandon this priority investment.”

Sinn Fein’s Raymond McCartney, who also attended yesterday’s meeting, said the minister would announce whether the funding was avialble in September.

“The Minister fully recognises the need for new-builds at both Foyle College and Ebrington Primary School and I have no doubt that he will do all in his power to ensure that both schools are given the kind of facilities that they require.”

He said the minister was constrained by “British Government cuts to the Executive’s budget.”

“Therefore the Minister is, quite rightly, taking time to consider how these limited funds can best be prioritised in order to secure the maximum educational benefits for all children and young people.

“He will be announcing his intentions to the Assembly next month.”