Minister sending confused message on Magee expansion” McLaughlin MLA
Sinn Féin MLA, Maeve McLaughlin (Foyle) has called on higher Education Minister, Stephen Farry to give unambiguous direction on what is required to secure the required expansion of Magee Campus as outlined in Derry’s ‘One Plan’regeneration project.
Maeve McLaughlin said:
“In response to a written question that I put to the Minister he was less than enthusiastic about the prospects of achieving the projected 9,400 full-time equivalent students by 2020, contained in the ‘One Plan’.
“The Minister’s response confirms that if a proposal were to be taken forward to expand the Magee campus in line with the vision set out in the One Plan, then a full economic appraisal would be required, but to date the university has only submitted a strategic outline case (SOC) which is a precursor to the full business case.
“In a less than encouraging comment, Mr Farry states, ‘However, the full business case will need to prove that there is sufficient demand for higher education places in Derry and that the decision to fund the expansion of Magee would not be to the detriment of higher education in other parts of Northern Ireland. There is a risk that a business case would be unable to prove this and approval for expansion may not follow’.
“I therefore reiterate my previous appeal to UU Magee and all other sectoral interests in making Derry a University City to pool their resources in drawing up a robust Business Plan and take the fight to the Minister. The ‘One Plan’ will only come to fruition if we have proper, detailed economic appraisals of all its components in our possession to convince the relevant funding agencies/Departments of their viability.”