New SoS Julian Smith briefed on City Deal, Medical School and Brexit concerns

The new Secretary of State on the Derry Walls.
The new Secretary of State on the Derry Walls.

The new Secretary of State, Julian Smith, was briefed on the campaign for a Medical School at Magee, concerns around the impacts of Brexit, the City Deal, and the Stormont impasse, during a visit to the Guildhall on Friday.

He met the Deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Cara Hunter, and Council Chief Executive John Kelpie to discuss a range of strategic issues affecting Derry.

Colr. Hunter said: “Today’s visit was very positive and provided the opportunity to open conversations with the new Secretary of State and for us to set out some of our priorities and concerns.

“We made it extremely clear that intervention regarding issues such as the Medical School in Magee is a matter of urgency. Engagement will continue in the coming months to explore further how the ambitions of the region can be effectively progressed.”

Council Chief Executive John Kelpie, said it had provided an opportunity to address a range of important issues.

“Our strongest message today was that this is a unique place and it needs a unique proposition to address the challenges and deliver the opportunities posed by Brexit.

“The importance of our position in terms of Europe, Ireland and the UK was discussed and the strategic cross-border partnership working that is so vital to our progress. It was also stressed that a seamless border to facilitate trade and travel is absolutely crucial.

“The meeting provided the opportunity to brief the Secretary of State regarding the Medical School at Magee and the pivotal role this will have in the successful delivery of a range of strategic projects vital to the future of our City Region. I am encouraged that after today’s meeting we can continue our discussions on a more in depth level and look further at how we can now progress the projects that will drive positive transformation of the North West, said Mr. Kelpie.

After the meeting Mr. Smith visited the historic Walls, which this year mark their 400th anniversary.