27 Sept 2022

'Clarion call' for stand-alone Derry university

Local public representatives urged to weigh in behind 'Derry University' campaign

'Clarion call' for stand-alone Derry university

'Clarion call' for stand-alone Derry university.

The Derry University Group has urged local public representatives to actively support a stand-alone university for the North West, following the intervention of TD Colm Burke (Fine Gael).

The group advocates for an independent third-level higher education institution here managed autonomously by the city-region.

Speaking to Derry News, Derry University Group spokesperson, Garbhán Downey said it would strongly support Deputy Burke’s recent assertion, a university in Derry would “promote and better facilitate a larger programme of North-South student exchanges”.

Mr Downey added: “Colm Burke’s statement should be a clarion call to other local public representatives to weigh in behind this worthy campaign.

“Derry University Group welcomes his continued involvement in this campaign. He has been a good champion of a stand-alone university for the North West and his statement is to be welcomed.

“He has pushed the idea of an independent university in the North West very strongly. He is the most active TD on the university issue, in fact he is probably the most active political representative or public representative on the university issue full stop.”

The Cork North-Central TD said a range of North-South initiatives had effectively created more pathways in areas such as healthcare.

He added: “A university in Derry would only serve to enhance student exchanges across an array of fields.

“Although we’ve seen an increase of nine percent in CAO applications from British students this year, applications from Northern Ireland have barely changed over the past two years, going from 1,418 to 1,408.

“A cross-border university would encourage more students to apply and would promote the Irish Peace Process with a larger programme of North-South student exchanges.”

Two years ago, Deputy Burke proposed a motion to establish a cross-border university for the North-West to honour the memory of John Hume and encourage a North-South student exchange programme.

He said: “Since then, we have seen incredible progress with Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, opening a Technological University for the West and North-West.

“This has improved higher education access and spearheaded regional development by providing opportunities for students, local businesses and communities. Following this milestone achievement, I am inspired that we can continue to deliver for our students.”

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