Eastwood: Magee Expansion will unlock new opportunities for Derry

further education colum eastwood magee

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has welcomed the establishment of a new task force to consider options for the expansion of university provision in Derry.


Mr Eastwood worked with the Irish Government to secure €45 million to create a new teaching and student services building at the Magee Campus, secured a commitment to expanding the campus to 10,000 students during the New Decade New Approach negotiations and funding for the graduate entry medical school from former Secretary of State Julian Smith.

The Foyle MP said that the potential of university expansion must now be matched by action from the Executive.

Speaking this afternoon, Colum Eastwood MP said:

“Expanding university provision in Derry is a key way to unlock new opportunities for our city and ambition for people who live here. It has been a key campaign objective of mine and a priority for the SDLP. I am genuinely pleased that Executive Ministers have listened and are now stepping up as well.

“In 2019 during the negotiations that led to New Decade New Approach, I made the expansion of Magee a key commitment for our negotiators and secured an outcome in the final agreement to increase student numbers to 10,000 and establish the Medical School in Derry with associated financial support for the graduate entry medical school. I also worked with the Irish Government through the Shared Island initiative to secure €45 million to create a new teaching and student services building at the Magee campus. We have already made significant progress and the support of Ministers for our campaign is deeply welcome.

“We have an unmissable opportunity to unlock Derry’s potential as a cross border hub of investment for skills, students and new tech in the North West. It is a huge part of our ambition for the city. The only way we can do that is with investment in people, infrastructure and institutions to make it happen. I have been making the case at Westminster, my colleague Sinead McLaughlin is preparing legislation in the Assembly and we now have a Taskforce led by Stephen Kelly and Nicola Skelly who I know will work hard to deliver the key university expansion we need to drive our ambitions.

“The establishment of the task force represents a positive development, it is crucial that this announcement is not the culmination of our efforts but the beginning of a tangible and sustained plan of action. The commitment to expanding the student body to 10,000, alongside the strategic investment in infrastructure and resources, must be urgent. The time for action is now.”

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