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University expansion is backed by unions

By Brendan McDaid

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has backed radical plans to triple the number of university students in Londonderry.

At a meeting of the ICTU this week it was agreed by unions to throw their support behind the plans developed by lobby group University For Derry (U4D).

The plans have already received backing from Derry City Council, the city’s Chamber of Commerce and all major political parties in the North West.

They would see an influx of around 10,000 students in Derry, the expansion of the Magee campus of the University of Ulster and a complete overhaul of the lower city centre.

A report commissioned by U4D showed how such developments would result in thousands of jobs for the city and pump hundreds of millions of pounds into the local economy.

The plan also involved the creation of a graduate entry medical school at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Peter Bunting, assistant general secretary of the ICTU, said: “The U4D proposals for an expanded university in the city of Derry are optimistic and realistic. If carried through, the city centre will be regenerated through learning and the enhanced wages of decent and high-skilled jobs.”

Padraig Canavan, chair of U4D, said the lobby group of influential business figures, community leaders and educationalists were “delighted” to receive the support.

“The direct and indirect impact of university expansion is something that both trade unionists and local employers’ organisation can unite in recognising will be of immense benefit.”

More details of the plan can be viewed at www.u4d.eu.

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