The Mayor of Londonderry, Brenda Stevenson, has called for a united front in the campaign for the expansion of Magee University.
Following the devastating news last week that the Minster for Employment and Learning, Stephen Farry, was shelving for the foreseeable future proposed plans to develop the local campus, Mrs Stevenson issued the rallying cry after a special meeting of the City’s Strategy Board at the Guildhall on Monday, which was attended by key stakeholders as well as local politicians.
Speaking after the meeting Mrs Stevenson, joint chairman of the Board, said: “It was agreed this afternoon that there would be one civic voice in relation to the expansion of Magee, and the Minister has a corporate responsibility to reconsider his decision to withdraw support from the campus.
“There should be no dissenting voices in relation to this issue, and I cannot emphasise enough the importance of presenting a united front in making an effective case for our city and our young people.
“This approach was met with cross party support during today’s meeting, which included representatives of Magee, Ilex, and U4D. Following on from these discussions I will be co-ordinating a series of meetings over the next few weeks with our six MLAs, our MP, MEP, and the Speaker of the House, to drive this issue forward and to ensure that our united voice will be heard at all levels of political and civic life.”
She added: “This is the single biggest issue to affect the city in terms of regeneration, and as a city with a significantly high youthful population we need to provide the level of education demanded by our young people, businesses and investors.
“The North West region cannot continue to be punished as a result of so-called welfare cuts.”