West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Sinn Féin supports South West College

Published: 27 October, 2014

Sinn Féin representatives for Fermanagh and South Tyrone & West Tyrone met with the director of South West College to ensure that front line courses & student numbers will not be affected with the proposed cuts of 15% facing their institution in 2015/16. Michelle Gildernew MP, Phil Flanagan MLA, Bronwyn McGahan MLA and Declan McAleer MLA met with Malachy McAleer, Eimear Rushe and Micheal McAllister last Friday morning at the Dungannon campus. Speaking after the meeting, MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew said, "A presentation highlighting the vital impact of the college to the 22,000 students currently enrolled, not to mention past students and the local economy set the theme of the meeting. "The majority of these students may not be in training or education if it wasn't for the affordability & accessibility of the five (including the skills centre) campuses of South West College. "The college spreads to the rural and hard to reach areas that QUB & UU may neglect. "And it is not only students of further and higher level education age that benefit from the resources of South West College - an average of 2,000 school children per week attend GCSE or A-level classes at one of the five campuses that their schools are unable to provide. "We recognise that the current financial situation for all colleges is challenging, but we promise to support South West College and prevent the potential cuts to the best of our ability." Bronwyn McGahan MLA also adds, "The courses available at South West College are responsive to the needs of the economy. However councils and colleges need to work hand in hand regarding job creation to ensure we are not producing young people for export. "Neither the Department nor the Further Education sector has been able to state how much of the proposed cuts of 15% are due to so-called welfare reform or how much is due to our block grant remaining static since 2009. Either way, Sinn Féin will continue to fight against cuts of any kind and fight for an increase in our block grant - for the good of our welfare state, the good of our education system and the good of our economy."