Magee a ‘test of commitment to Derry’

SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell has said that Magee expansion is an opportunity for the “Belfast, Dublin and London governments to demonstrate their commitment to Derry”.

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 9:00 pm
SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell.

The Ballyarnett representative gained unanimous support at Thursday’s Council meeting for a motion calling on the Executive to work with Ulster University and the Irish and UK Governments to finally deliver university expansion.

Speaking in the Guildhall, Councillor Farrell said: “The failure to expand is due to a lack of action from Ulster University. And a lack of political will from Stormont. Both are needed to make expansion a reality. 2011’s One Plan envisaged 9,400 students by 2020. It is now 2020 and it hasn’t happened. We now have 4,237 students, a meagre increase of just 172 in the past ten years.

“But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. For the first time in history we have a deal, signed by the main political parties and the British and Irish governments, that gives very clear commitments around Magee expansion.

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“It’s there in black and white. There is no grey area. The deal to restore Stormont has committed to expansion. It has committed to 10,000 places. It has committed to increasing the Maximum Student Numbers. It has committed to the medical school. And it has committed to bringing forward proposals on how these will be delivered.

“We’ve heard in recent days that ‘no funding has been formally committed’ by the British and Irish governments. The task now for the finance and economy ministers is to negotiate that funding with London and Dublin. We’ve heard that the business case for Magee is out of date. The simple solution is - Ulster University, update the business case.”