Magee campaigners meet minister

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Campaigners for the expansion of the university at Magee have said they are disappointed at the pace of progress of the expansion plans.

Speaking after a meeting with employment and learning minister Dr Stephen Farry at Stormont this week, Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are encouraged that he said that he shared our aspiration for the expansion of Magee and also that he was optimistic that the interim target of an extra 1,000 students by 2015 would be met. However, we are very disappointed that he gave us no grounds for optimism that the full target of Magee having a student population of 9,400 by 2020 will be achieved.”

Padraig Canavan, chair of university lobby group U4D, said: “Progress is being made, but at nothing like the speed we would like. We share the minister’s confidence that the next step in Magee’s expansion will go ahead, with the extra thousand students by 2015. But this is not enough to create the step change in Derry that we all demand. We must not forget that Derry has the highest unemployment in Northern Ireland and the highest level of poverty. To that end, an implementation body is being formed to deliver the full level of expansion of Magee set out in the One Plan.”