United in demand for Magee places

Derry’s civic, business and political leaders say all 500 extra university places must come to the city.

On Wednesday Foyle SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said Dr Farry informed him that not all 500 places would be bound for Magee. But that has not deterred leading figures in the city, including Mr Ramsey who says he will continue to “lobby the Minister and his Departmental officials on this crucial issue to Derry and the North West.”

Derry’s Mayor, Sinn Fein councillor Kevin Campbell said the “expansion of the Magee campus is essential if the city and region is serious about regeneration.” That call is echoed by the city’s business community.

“The expansion of university provision is the single most important economic initiative possible for Derry-Londonderry,” said Philip Gilliland, Vice President of Derry’s Chamber of Commerce. “It has the potential to lift the city in terms of its economy, physical environment and provide a continued focus on the cultural quality of life in the city.”

Chamber CEO Sinead McLaughlin added: “Increasing university provision is the single most important measure that can be taken to strengthen Derry’s economy. Nothing else could achieve these same benefits for the citizens of Derry.”

Jim Roddy of the City Centre Initiative said university expansion is essential to the city’s future growth. “These places must come to Magee, anything short of that should not be accepted by this city.”

Derry’s urban regeneration company Ilex said expansion of the campus is central to the One Plan and is one of the key drivers in the city’s regeneration process.

“An expanded campus will have significant and catalytic impact on the local economy in terms of skills and jobs”.