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Call for Minister to secure future of St Mary’s University College

3 February, 2009 - by Sue Ramsey

Sinn Fein Chair of the Employment and Learning committee, Sue Ramsey, and Further Education spokesperson, Paul Butler, have called on Reg Empey and the Dept of Employment and Learning (DEL) to ensure that St Mary's College in West Belfast has a secure future.

Speaking after the Employment and Learning Committees' report into teacher education was debated in the Assembly on Tuesday Ms Ramsey said:

'The Minister and his department have been trying to impose new funding arrangements that would have lead to the closure of St Mary's College. The report into teacher education by the Employment and Learning Committee outlines proposals on bringing about a strategy to secure the future of the college and teacher education.'

Paul Butler, who is a member of the Employment and Learning Committee, spoke during the debate and called on the Minister to work with St Mary's College to safeguard its place as a college for teacher education and other diversified courses.

'St Mary's College is an integral part of Greater West Belfast and it is essential that the college has a future to help regenerate and transform West Belfast. It also plays an important role in providing teachers in the Irish medium sector.

"Sinn Fein are opposed to any plans to close St Mary's College the college's future must be secured and Reg Empey and DEL must come up with proposals that guarantee the college will continue to have a central role in the promotion of teacher education.'

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