DUP-SF now block Magee

Sir,

What a stitch-up!

Once again we see development at the Magee Campus of the University of Ulster being stymied. Not by faceless men this time, but with the collusion of two local parties, Sinn Fein and the DUP.

After two years of struggle to get agreement on the Foyle College site, we now find the move by Foyle College to the Waterside being blocked by short-sighted self-interest. The supposed ‘threat’ to Lisneal College needs to be explained. When balanced against the career opportunities that the University expansion would provide to the pupils of Lisneal College and others throughout the North West, it is totally illogical to use this supposed ‘threat’ to block a major development. This stitch-up has been planned well in advance and the choreography and timing has to be admired.

First we have the doubt raised about the Foyle College move and the perceived ‘threat’ to Lisneal Collage being expressed by the Sinn Fein Minister. Then we have the DUP Minister raise doubts about the funding for the expansion at Magee. It’s bad enough that these two Belfast-focused, ‘not-out-of-my-budget’ ministers, with no apparent strategic foresight other than their own re-election, see fit to wreck any plans for expansion in the North-West, but the compliance on the part of local politicians beggars belief.

Martina Anderson has intimated that an alternative site for expansion at Magee is being looked into. As far as I’m aware the University is not involved in this investigation. If the proposed site is on the river then we are probably talking about land acquired during the property boom for apartment development. This would be a massive scaling down from the Foyle College site, but I’m sure the property speculator involved would be very grateful for the change to an inferior site.

Local Sinn Fein and DUP politicians need to explain themselves and publicly state where they stand on the issue.

Yours,

Martin Doherty,

Lecturer,

University of Ulster,

School of Computing and Engineering,

Magee Campus.