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“Minister’s attitude to Springvale development a disgrace” Maskey

12 February, 2008

Paul Maskey MLA (West Belfast) has branded the attitude of the Minister for Employment and Learning, Reg Empey towards the development of the Springvale Campus a disgrace.

Paul Maskey said:

"In the Assembly on Monday, I asked the Minister for Employment and Learning if he could detail the alternative steps he was taking to fund the Springvale education village project following the withdrawal of the University of Ulster from the project.

"The Minister informed the Assembly that the project has now been taken over by the Belfast Metropolitan College which is working to deliver the workforce and economic development centre which will be funded by his Department, the International Fund for Ireland and Belfast City Council at a cost of £13.5 million.

"Minister Empey then went on to say that he would "be happy to consider any proposals for a potentially viable and sustainable development to provide additional educational facilities on the Springvale site." In other words the Minister has no plans whatsoever to deliver the Educational Village project that the people of West Belfast were promised.

"After claiming that the site - divided into north and south sides - one owned by his Department and the other by Margaret Ritchie's Department of Social Development he went on to admit that he can't recall ever having any discussion with DSD in regards to developing the site. So much for joined-up government! I believe that it is an absolute disgrace that once more this project is being long-fingured. I intend to pursue this issue with both Reg Empey and Margaret Ritchie until I get satisfactory commitments that the project will be delivered." ENDS

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