Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir says he accepts the analysis of civic leaders across Londonderry and Donegal that the entire future of the North West hinges on the success of the University of Ulster campus at Magee.
Pressed on Magee by People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann he said he was a big supporter of Magee’s expansion.
Mr McCann asked: “Will the Minister give an assurance now that the management of the University of Ulster has no need for, and should call to a halt, the redundancy programme that is closing courses and getting rid of lecturers at Magee? How can we listen to all the promises about the expansion of Magee when what they are actually doing is contracting Magee?”
He replied: “I went to Magee last week because I wanted to state clearly at this early stage what I was told by the chief executive of Derry and Strabane District Council, the chief executive of Donegal County Council, the business community, the Chamber of Commerce and others I met before I left the city, and vice chancellor Paddy Nixon, namely that the entire success in the future of what I am happy to call ‘the north-west city region of Derry’ hinges on the success of the University of Ulster campus at Magee.
“I am happy to see that numbers there have increased. I am a big advocate — I have said this to my colleague and friend, the vice chancellor of Queen’s University — of anthropology, the Irish language and history. I have a degree in two of those three subjects, though not a very good one, and “I would like to see, and I have said this to all those involved in our universities, those particular disciplines grow in the time ahead as well as other disciplines.
“The way to grow our universities is to provide funding. We have done that today. I do not know if the Member heard — maybe he missed it — but we have just provided £20 million to make the type of investment that Dr Farry called for.”