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Derry University Group ready to support development of North West institution
29 Jul 2019
The Derry University Group has said it is willing to “advise and support” the local council in establishing an independent university in the city. A meeting was held between Council Chief Executive John Kelpie, Deputy Mayor Cara Hunter, and the new Secretary of State for NI this week where the ongoing campaign for a Medical school at Magee was discussed. The Derry University Group (DUG) felt it was a prime opportunity to impress upon SoS Julian Smith the need for an independent university in the city. This month, Derry City & Strabane District Councillors unanimously backed a motion supporting the exploration of all options for university provision in the North West. That included the expansion of Magee and the possibility of an independent university put forward by the DUG. The move followed an intervention by Labour Peer Lord Adonis who convinced the House of Lords to publish a report on the improvement of higher education provision in Northern Ireland and the establishment of a university whose principal campus is in Derry. A spokesperson for the Derry University Group said it is clear that the momentum for a dedicated university for the North West is growing all the time. “In recent months, Derry/Strabane Council and other major influencers in Westminster and Dublin have committed themselves to delivering an independent university for the North West. “There has also been huge support from US colleges, who want to partner with a standalone university in Derry. It is completely apparent that the public here want action from the governments on a new university, now, as a matter of urgent priority.” “The North West, despite the political uncertainty, is in a prime position to establish a new cultural and educational institution, which could act as a catalyst for the economic regeneration of the region and reverse the damage already being done by Brexit on the Derry and Donegal communities. “The Derry University Group is willing to advise and assist Council and others in developing and delivering a new university, as we have always done in the past. Of course we also need a Medical School for the North West as part of any new university, but it is only a very small part of a much bigger picture. “We need a minimum of 8,000 additional students in this city. We cannot be satisfied with 200 - particularly when UU Magee is losing students all the time.”
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