Sinn Fein call for clarity on Magee expansion plan

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All of the Sinn Féin public representatives in Derry have signed an open letter expressing “concern and frustration” at the lack of progress on the expansion of the Magee campus of the University of Ulster.

The letter has been signed by the party’s two Foyle Assembly members and ten councillors, as well as by Martina Anderson MEP.

It calls on the University of Ulster authorities to publicly state what is being done to progress the expansion of Magee.

The letter states: “We write to express concern and frustration in Derry regarding the lack of progress on expansion of Magee campus of the University of Ulster (UU). We feel it is important to highlight the absence of any tangible progress made by the UU authorities towards the development of the campus, which is in marked contrast to the advanced stage of the new campus at York Street, Belfast.

“While we have no objections to the development of facilities at York Street, we do not believe it should be at the expense of the promised development at Magee.”

The letter also said all possible options for the expansion of Magee should be considered. “In a recent response to Sinn Féin queries, UU outlined a number of initiatives which it claimed were evidence of its commitment to the development of the Magee campus. Quite simply, its response did not inspire confidence that it is seriously committed to the required level of development at Magee.

“If this is the case, it would be preferable that the UU state that position clearly, thereby allowing those interested in development of a real University in Derry to explore all viable alternatives,” it said.

Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin said the letter is the first in a series of issues designed to promote the expansion of Magee. “The important issue about the need for the expansion at Magee University is something that isn’t going away. As a public representative, at practically every meeting I attend about this city moving forward the University is seen as a key part of that jigsaw. The message I get back from people in the community, educationalists, business community is ‘what’s happening at Magee?’” she said.