SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood MP has expressed concern that the First Minister was unable to give SDLP MLA, Mark H Durkan, a cast iron guarantee that the Magee Medical School would be ready to open in September 2021.
The Foyle MP said: “The SDLP have been campaigning for Magee expansion for many years and we secured a ringfenced funding commitment as part of New Decade, New Approach. We also worked hard to secure a commitment to supporting Magee expansion in the draft Programme for Government in the south. The money was made available and in the months that followed, we urged the DUP and Sinn Fein to make the necessary decisions and get this project delivered.”
“Not only did we find ourselves rebuked as negative when asking practical questions, we were told that it was a done deal. Clearly, it is not as the First Minister was unable to provide these basic assurances today in the Assembly Chamber, when questioned by my colleague Mark H Durkan MLA.”
“We will continue to fight for the Medical School and a fully expanded Magee campus. We hope that it will still open next year, but this latest statement from the First Minister makes it more difficult. At very least, the people of Derry deserve transparency and honesty from those holding the most senior positions in the Executive."
SDLP Economy Spokesperson, Sinead McLaughlin MLA added: “This is a very disappointing lack of clarity and to be blunt, I'm angry about it. We were promised the Magee Medical School was coming next year and now we are not sure. We have to invest in training more doctors to reduce locum costs and to strengthen our health service. Covid-19 demonstrated the need, but it looks likely that Derry and the North West will be let down by the DUP and Sinn Fein, once again.”
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