In response an Assembly Question tabled by Mr Durkan, Minister Lyons stated that funding is not available now or in the near future to remove this measure.
Said the Foyle MLA: “This response is wholly unacceptable; not only does this reply display a lack of ambition but also hints at a complete lack of ministerial will to deliver university expansion in the North West.
“Minister Lyons remains steadfast to the status quo of his predecessors; pumping investment into Belfast based universities while continuing to neglect the North’s second city.
“There is no denying that the MaSN cap has been restrictive and prevented the expansion of the student cohort at Magee.
“I’m disappointed but sadly not surprised with the Economy Minister’s response that there is unlikely to be any progress on this matter in the near future. Resigning oneself to this monolithic, ‘can’t do’ attitude is simply not good enough.
“For far too long the successive Economy Ministers and the Executive have dragged their heels on working to expand university provision in our city, when challenged on their failure to provide additional student places in the North West, ministers have skirted around the issue.
“The abject failure to expand university provision in this city is symptomatic of a failed economic policy, one which fails to address evident regional imbalance.”
Mr Durkan added: “While the SDLP has secured positive steps like the Magee medical school and a commitment to 10,000 students in New Decade, New Approach, this has yet to be realised and we have so much work still to do. Progress has moved at a snail’s pace.
“Considering the transformational impact university expansion would have in the North West and the local economy, I cannot fathom why after a 50 year-long campaign, this provision is yet to be delivered.
“Every opportunity should be explored to help drive this change forward, even if that means looking towards an independent body.
“It’s time for both governments North and South to step in and step up to deliver their long overdue commitment to a properly resourced, thriving university in Derry.”Tags: