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Woodward meeting boost for Omagh Education Village Campus proposal

8 February, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty says that the campaign to develop a secondary level Education Village Campus on lands at the vacated Lisanelly and St Lucia military sites in Omagh received a boost yesterday after British Secretary of State Shaun Woodward not only signalled his enthusiastic support for the project but also said that he wants to "help to make it happen".

Mr Doherty said,

"Along with my party and constituency colleague Barry Mc Elduff MLA, I accompanied members of the Omagh Educational Campus Group to a meeting with British Secretary of State Shaun Woodward at Hillsborough Castle late yesterday afternoon to urge him to use his influence within his own government to transfer lands at the vacated military sites at Lisanelly and St Lucia in the town to the Assembly Executive so as to facilitate the development of a unique secondary level Education Village Campus.

"It took little to convince Shaun Woodward of the merits of the proposal and he said that he wants to "help to make it happen".

"The meeting went beyond the planned timescale and into a very detailed and focussed discussion on the detail of the proposal and on ensuring that there is now a comprehensive business case put in place so that as strong a case as possible can be put to the British Government Treasury to convince it of the merits of the proposal.

"Shaun Woodward agreed to reconvene in three weeks time to review the situation and his expressed willingness to work in partnership with everyone involved in attempting to make the Omagh Education Village Campus a reality.

"This positive engagement with Shaun Woodward on the issue is a boost to the ongoing campaign to deliver this pioneering project for Omagh and its hinterland and will now be running parallel with other ongoing efforts, including from the Assembly Executive, to get the British government to transfer the necessary lands at Lisanelly and St Lucia for the Education Village Campus. ENDS

Note to Editors

Brief description of Education Village Campus proposal:

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 want to forge a future together based on 'shared space' while also ensuring that all campus students have access to the broadest curriculum possible.

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