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Doherty, McElduff and Omagh Educational Campus Group lobby Woodward on transfer of Lisanelly/St Lucia

7 February, 2008

West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty and Barry McElduff MLA will accompany members of the Omagh Educational Campus Group to a meeting with British Secretary of State Shaun Woodward today, Thursday 7th February, as part of the ongoing lobbying campaign to secure lands at the vacated Lisanelly/St Lucia military sites in Omagh for a state of the art education village campus.

Barry Mc Elduff said,

"The Omagh Educational Group which includes head teachers, WELB Chief Executive Barry Mulholland, Mgr Joseph Donnelly and the Rev Robert Herron has brought forward a visionary project which would see local secondary schools co-locating to an education village campus on lands at the vacated military sites in the town.

"While each school within the campus would have its own independent environment and retain its unique ethos, each school would nonetheless share common state of the art facilities and take part in common activities. This project represents a pioneering and inspirational example of how this community wants to forge a common future together while also ensuring that all campus students have access to the broadest curriculum possible.

"W we will be seeking a commitment from Shaun Woodward that he will go the extra mile in his efforts to ensure that this land is transferred."

Pat Doherty said,

"This meeting is a key part of the ongoing lobbying we have been undertaking to force the British Government to transfer lands at Lisanelly/St Lucia for the Education Village Campus. To date we have secured strong and active support for this project from within the Executive and Assembly; the British/Irish Parliamentary Conference; from the MPs from all the main political parties in Britain and particular support from an unlikely coalition of Labour Party left wing MPs and Conservative Shadow Secretary of State Owen Patterson.

"However British Secretary of Defence Des Browne in December stated that his intention to secure the maximum financial gain for the MoD from the sale of Lisa Nelly and St Lucia in Omagh. While Shaun Woodward described the proposal as an "extremely good and imaginative one" last month he also said that he did not want to raise expectations about what the British Government may be able to do. However, both have acknowledged that lobbying on the issue, including from the Office of First & Deputy First Minister, is still ongoing and that it is still under consideration by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown." ENDS

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