The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Michaela Boyle, today met with political leaders and key stakeholders to urgently discuss progress in the campaign for a medical school for Magee campus.
At the meeting serious concern was expressed at the lack of response from the Department for Health regarding the business case for the graduate entry level school.
Afterwards Mayor Boyle confirmed that she will now seek an urgent meeting with party leaders and Head of the NI Civil Service David Sterling, and an immediate update on the project which is regarded as an essential element of Derry and Strabane’s City Deal proposal and a key investment priority set out within the Strategic Growth Plan for the City and District.
“The resounding message at today’s meeting was extremely clear in terms of the feelings of frustration and concern that we are still awaiting approval of funding for this vitally important project at this stage,” she declared.
“The urgency of the situation is increasing as we fast approach the final deadline for student intake ahead of the planned autumn 2020 start. The expansion of the university is absolutely vital for the economic development of the North West. As well as going some way towards meeting the significant need for student places, the Medical School will also help address the deficit in GPs in the Western area and facilitate the accelerated development of the health related projects THRIVE, CIDRA and CARL.
“As today’s meeting reiterated – we are united and determined in our efforts to address the legacy of underinvestment in education and to secure this vital resource for the North West. We are disappointed in the government’s apparent disregard for this crucial need and we simply demand better.”
Among those attending today’s meeting at the Guildhall were Foyle MP Elisha McCallion, Gary Middleton MLA, Roy Beggs MLA, cross-party representatives, and senior representatives from Ulster University and Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Contact will now be made with David Sterling’s office seeking a meeting with Richard Pengelly, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Health and Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy.