Said Cllr Harkin: “The DUP think 6,000 students is good enough for Magee – and this just happens to be the Ulster University target.
“For the UU Vice Chancellor to tell us his target is reaching 6,000 students at Magee in five years is not good enough and not unacceptable.
“We need an urgent plan to reach the agreed minimum of 10,000 students within the next five years – but there are absolutely no plans for that.
“UU know full well the expectation in Derry and the North West for higher education provision expansion. Indeed, UU are themselves centrally responsible for the lack of investment into Magee and Derry for decades.
“It doesn’t seem to matter that nearly £100 million of Derry City Deal funding is earmarked for UU.
“If UU was fully committed to Magee expansion we would be seeing a lot more urgency. There would be a coordinated campaign making Magee the absolute priority for UU following the completion of its unprecedented investment in Belfast city centre.
“There would be a public press on the DUP Economy Minister to change the student number rules and change his attitude to Magee expansion.
“All options for how we progress higher education provision must be on the table and fully pursued.
“Derry and the North West needs an urgent targeted campaign of investment covering university provision, rail expansion, social home building, living wage job creation and tackling all regional inequalities.
“All these issues are tied together. Stormont put all these demands on the long finger when it was functioning. With the Assembly down they’re in cold storage. We are not being levelled-up; we’re being levelled-down.
“Politics as usual will not break the status quo approach. Calls for a new civil rights movement are absolutely right. We need a new movement that says enough is enough: the time is now for Derry and the North West.”Tags: