University of Ulster's Magee expansion scaled back

Image caption University of Ulster's Magee expansion scaled back

Plans to expand the Magee campus of the University of Ulster will not be on the scale previously hoped for, according to the Minister of Employment and Learning.

Dr Stephen Farry said that financial pressures were to blame.

"At this stage we're looking a few hundred additional places," he said.

"I had hoped that we would be talking here about a bigger expansion in terms of student places.

"We've had to settle for a more modest figure."

The university lobby group, U4D have campaigned for the removal of the cap on student numbers to increase undergraduate places from 3,500 to almost 10,000.

Padraig Canavan, chairman of the group, said he'll continue with his campaign to increase student numbers.

Major setback

"It's a major setback for the regeneration plan.

"The Executive has money, it's a question of priority. The pressure is going to increase greatly for places here.

"We will continue with the campaign because we want the Executive to be in no doubt that this is what's needed. We're going to twist as many arms as we can find," he said.

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey who is on the Department of Employment and Learning committee said Derry had been let down.

"I think it's shameful that we are at this stage. The applications to the Magee campus this year have been almost 5,000.

"The university could only take 1,000 people," he said.

Mr Farry will meet representatives from the University of Ulster on Wedneday.