Council writes to Ulster University on location of Derry’s new Medical School complex

Derry & Strabane Council is awaiting a response from Ulster University so discussions can begin on constructing a riverfront Medical School.

By Gillian Anderson
Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 10:14 am

It is expected the new Ulster University Medical School will be located on the banks of the River Foyle as previously proposed.

With the first intake of students to the new School of Medicine due in a matter of weeks, SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell had asked for an update on where the high-tech hub for health and innovation would be at the July meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Councillor Farrell said: “There’s a lack of clarity regarding the exact location of the permanent School of Medicine. Field of Dreams is one of my favourite films and ‘if you build it they will come’ is one of the most misquoted lines in movie history.

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“Kevin Costner knew where he was going to build his field of dreams but we have no idea at present where our Medical School is ultimately going to go and the initial intake of students is due in just over a month.

“I’m a firm believer in ‘if you build it they will come,’ but before we build anything we need to know where it is going to be built.”

Derry and Strabane Council Chief Executive John Kelpie confirmed the university has ‘committed in principle to build the Medical School on the riverfront site’ and have advised that it is ‘their preferred location’. He added: “We are awaiting a letter from them to confirm they wish to open discussions with council in relation to that. We are pressing the University for that letter so that discussions can begin in earnest.”

Mr Kelpie advised that a paper on the matter would be brought to the September meeting of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee.

The School of Medicine will help train ‘globally ambitious community-focused doctors for the Northern Ireland health service’, paramedics through a new course, BSc Honours in Paramedic Science, alongside students studying disciplines including radiography and physiotherapy.