Funding paves way for Derry med school approval

A new multi-million pound medical school for Derry looks likely to be given the official go-ahead later this week.
City Deal funding for Derry-Strabane gets match funding from NI Executive.City Deal funding for Derry-Strabane gets match funding from NI Executive.
City Deal funding for Derry-Strabane gets match funding from NI Executive.

The graduate entry college could be signed off by the NI Executive as early as Thursday.

The move follows confirmation of a multi-million pound package for Derry and Strabane hailed as “transformative” and an “economic game changer” for the city region.

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After months of negotiatons, the NI Executive has finally agreed to “match fund” the Derry-Strabane City Deal and Inclusive Growth Deal.

The British government announced £105m. for the City Deal in May last year. The Executive’s decision to now match this funding brings the overall package to around £210m.

The bulk of the City Deal funding is earmarked for Ulster University’s expansion plans and the medical school at its Magee campus.

It’s understood the match-funding decision paves the way for the medical school plan to be approved.

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The expansion of the university and the medical college has long been regarded as a catalyst for economic growth in the region.

Local politicians have welcomed the NI Executive’s decision to ‘match fund’ the Derry-Strabane City Deal.

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson hailed it as “transformative for the entire north west region”.

Ms Anderson sadi: “This is hugely positive for the north west and represents the culmination of a great deal of work over the last number of years.

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“Following years of unrelenting Tory austerity which has deprived Derry, Strabane and the wider region of much-needed public services and investment, we can see the clear benefits of having a local Executive in place.”

Foyle MP and SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood addel: “Investing in skills and providing our talented young people with the opportunity to live, work and set down roots here is essential to building sustainable communities that thrive.

“Now that we’ve secured the potential of the City Deal, we can’t take our foot off the pedal. We need to turn the page on the years of neglect and underinvestment by expanding our university, investing in our young people and delivering new opportunities.”

DUP MLA Gary Middleton added: “The DUP ensured that City Deals were part of the Confidence and Supply agreement in 2017 with the aim of ensuring that all of NI benefited.

“The additional funding for all City Deals announced today is welcome news during this difficult time.”