Said Cllr Harkin: “Increasing tuition fees should be opposed robustly. We won’t introduce them on behalf of the Tories and call all on other parties to make the same pledge.
“Tuition fee hikes, water charges and prescription charges should be off the table when energy companies post record profits and while £250 million is spent on a grotesque coronation event.
“The Tories are on the attack – every proposal they are making will increase inequality and lead to further disparity for Derry and the North West.
“We have no confidence in the leadership of Ulster University to develop Magee to 10,000 students, never mind 20,000.
“UU Vice Chancellor Paul Bartholomew has told us point blank he has no plans for 10,000 students at Magee and nor does Stormont.
“For this reason in Derry and Strabane Council, we proposed all options, including a cross border university, to be put on the table for the expansion of higher education in Derry and the North West.
“We wholeheartedly agree with the Derry University Group demand for an oversight committee for education provision in the North.
“It’s simply ridiculous for more than 80% of higher education students to be concentrated in Belfast. It’s unfair for UU bosses to be given a blank check while they fail to follow through on promises to Derry. This must end.
“UU bosses have neglected Derry and the North West for decades. The attitude hasn’t changed despite all the spin and promises from the political establishment parties.
“We will use our elected positions on Council to hold UU bosses and the big parties to account – and back campaigns for genuine expansion of university provision in Derry and the North West.”Tags: