Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Magee Campus: Politicians have power to make expansion happen

University of Ulster Chancellor James Nesbitt and Professor Deirdre Heenan, Pro-vice chancellor (Communication) and Provost of Coleraine and Magee campuses pictured at a Civic Reception for delegates attending the MeCCSA Spaces and Places confernce. The event is being hosted by the University of Ulster's School of Media, Film and Journalism at the historic Magee Campus in Derry~Londonderry. PIcture Martin McKeown 9.1.13

THE university appreciates the strength of feeling in the city around the expansion of our Magee campus, and shares its sense of frustration at the obstacles that have been put in the way of its growth.

At the same time we were disappointed that an opportunity to present a united voice from the city in favour of the expansion of Magee has been squandered by the authors of this petition.

Regrettably, that course was not chosen, and where there might have been harmony and unity of purpose, an unhelpful spirit of rancour has been introduced.

The NI Executive – of which Sinn Fein is a leading member – made a deliberate decision last year to slash £23m of public funding to our universities, with results which are having effects at all levels.

The continuing reference to a 'business case' is a smoke and mirrors tactic.

DEL has confirmed that no business case is required for the current phase of growth at Magee outlined in the One Plan.

Our critics in Sinn Fein speak as if they have no influence in society, as if they are a powerless, marginalised Opposition. They are not: they are the Government of Northern Ireland and sit at the Executive table.

If they want Magee expansion, they have the power to provide the funding framework to make it happen.

Professor Deidre Heenan is Provost of Magee and Coleraine

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