‘I want job creation at old sites’

Ebrington Primary School.  LS02-512MT.

Ebrington Primary School. LS02-512MT.

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Education Minister John O’Dowd says he wants to see investment, growth, jobs being created and community infrastructure being strengthened at the current Foyle College and Ebrington Primary sites once the schools co-locate in the Waterside.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said it is important the sites are brought into use by the local communities and don’t become derelict.

Mr O’Dowd said: “The future use of the sites will be a matter for Foyle College and the Education Authority, which will be the manager of the Ebrington school site.

“I am aware that there are suggestions in the Derry area as to what the future use of that school and school site should be. In that case, it is a matter for discussion between the proposers and the relevant ownership authorities.”

Mr Middleton asked the Minister “if he would work with the relevant authorities to ensure that those sites are of benefit to the local area and are not left in dereliction?”

Mr O’Dowd: “I am more than happy to work with the relevant authorities on that matter.

“In fairness to him and other representatives in Derry, you always have a plan and a call for what should happen next.

“That is a credit to you all. I know that there is some discussion about educational opportunities for the site, perhaps from the further and higher education sector, which would seem interesting and exciting. I do not want to see sites lying derelict anywhere; I want to see investment, growth, jobs being created and community infrastructure being strengthened.

“The way to do that is through the use of former, for want of a better term, government sites. I appreciate that Foyle is under the ownership of trustees, etc. However, I am more than happy to work with anyone who has ambitious plans for moving forward.”