NW ex-pats back independent university for Derry

The campaign to secure an independent university for Derry continues to gather momentum.
The campaign to secure an independent university for Derry continues to gather momentum.

Diaspora from Derry and Donegal say they want to see the delivery of a ‘truly world-class’ independent university in the North West.

The ex-pats’ association, FutureProof Northwest, made the call in an invitation to a mayoral reception for the group in Dublin later this month.

Speaking in advance of the October 24 event at Mansion House, Sean Downey, FPNW Secretary, said the group wanted to help ‘establish relationships to celebrate our entire community’s cultural, sporting and historical past’.

He said: “We intend to support conversations that will help our city region achieve its potential, its economic ambitions and the physical infrastructure that will drive regional development and the delivery of a truly world-class, independent and regionally-centred university.”

Mr Downey, who is director of the Construction Industry Federation in Dublin, is one of scores of Derry-Donegal diaspora from across the island and beyond expected to take in the event which is being hosted by Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe.

The National Library of Ireland is also hosting a preview event for invited guests prior to the reception.

A spokesperson for the Derry University Group, which was set up in 2013 to lobby for a standalone university for the North West, welcomed the ex-pats’ statement.

He said: “The North West diaspora recognise that one of the best ways to reverse almost sixty years of economic isolation and social disadvantage in this region is to develop a world-class university here as soon as is practicable. This will provide the impetus for new economic development, halt the tide of outward migration and, ultimately, help this struggling city-region realise its ambitions.

“This support from FutureProof NW is very significant as it demonstrates the wider national and international unease which is building up regarding the North West’s third-class Higher Education provision.”