The planned medical school at Magee is too crucial to allow it to be delayed or frustrated any further, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said.
The Foyle MP was commenting after Ulster University Vice-Chancellor Paddy Nixon warned that it would not be in place in time for the 2019 academic year as approval is still being sought from the Department of Health.
Elisha McCallion said:
“Obviously it’s hugely disappointing that the opening has been delayed for a year and we share the frustration of the university because this is such a crucial project for the city.
“Today, we should be celebrating the really positive news that Magee has signed an agreement with St. George’s Medical School in the University of London, another crucial hurdle passed.
“I have also opened a very positive dialogue with the Irish Government about the contribution they would be willing to make while good work has also been done between Ulster and Queens to ensure that both universities are complementing each other in relation to the courses offered
“So the work continues and progress continues to be made.
“The university has done all it can to advance this project and the onus is clearly now on the Department of Health to play its part.
“I don’t believe the lack of an Executive should be a barrier to that. We would all much prefer if power-sharing was restored but unfortunately the DUP are still preventing that by refusing to share power on the basis of equality.
“Nevertheless, the Magee medical school is entirely in line with the transformation of health endorsed by the last Executive and, therefore, with the required will and an imaginative approach, the Department of Health can and should proceed as planned.
“Despite this delay, I remain convinced that the medical school will still go ahead.
“I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Head of the Civil Service and I would again urge all political and civic leaders in this city to unite behind the drive to secure the medical school.
“I will continue to bring a focus to this project because it is too crucial to the economic regeneration of this entire region to allow it to be delayed or frustrated any further.” CRÍOCH/ENDS