Magee tops agenda for delegation to Stormont

The Northland Road entrance to Magee.
The Northland Road entrance to Magee.

A high level delegation from Derry will visit Stormont today to lobby for 500 additional student places for Magee.

The group, which will include the six Foyle MLAs, members of the U4D lobby group and representatives from Derry City Council and City of Culture organisers, will meet with the University of Ulster’s vice-chancellor, Richard Barnett.

The meeting has been organised by Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin.

Ms McLaughlin also met with education and learning minister Dr Stephen Farry yesterday to press for the student places.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, Ms McLaughlin said: “The Minister’s announcement is welcome news and I will reiterate the Sinn Féin call and impress on them that it is our considered opinion that all of the 500 places should be allocated to Magee.

“This would provide for a more qualitative outcome generally than spreading them out across all of the university campuses. If the Minister would allocate these places to Derry, the benefits to the local economy and growth of the university would be invaluable.”

Ms McLaughlin said the fact that today’s meeting will be cross-party and involve civic stakeholders indicated the importance of the expansion of Magee to everyone in the city.

“I urge the Minister, in line with his party’s manifesto commitments regarding the expansion of Magee to reflect on the limited impact that spreading these places across University of Ulster campuses and further education colleges would have as opposed to the positive and widespread impact it would have if all are allocated to Magee.

“I appreciate that the Minister has previously expressed his understanding of the importance of Magee expansion. He now has the opportunity to act on that understanding and deliver these additional places. I intend to deliver the same message to vice-Chancellor Barnett.

“If Magee is to take a significant step towards the kind of university presence envisaged in Derry City’s One Plan, it needs the department of employment and learning to allocate in the first instance the total additional student places to the Magee campus,” she said.