West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Department remains 'totally committed' to Strule Education Campus

Published: 11 October, 2017

Catherine Kelly MLA, Derek Baker Dept. of Education Permanent Secretary,  John Smith, SRO of Strule Education Campus,  and Declan Mc Aleer MLA

Catherine Kelly MLA, Derek Baker Dept. of Education Permanent Secretary, John Smith, SRO of Strule Education Campus, and Declan Mc Aleer MLA

West Tyrone MLA's Declan Mc Aleer and Catherine Kelly have received assurances that the Strule Education campus is on track and well underway.
Both MLA's met the Department of Education Permanent Secretary and the Strule Campus Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) at Stormont yesterday following notification from the department that the completion date would be delayed until September 2019.
Ms Kelly said "The Strule Shared Education Campus is a visionary project which has the potential to deliver major educational and social outcomes for our young people and the wider community.
"The former MP Pat Doherty played a leading role in securing the transfer of the site to the department and it was a top priority for Sinn Féin Education Ministers Caitriona Ruane and John O Dowd who set up and chaired the programme board.
"Recent news of a delay in procurement and subsequent opening date caused considerable concern in the community. On foot of this, we sought a meeting with the Permanent Secretary and the SRO to get assurances that the project is still on track.
Mr Mc Aleer added "Our meeting was very constructive and we received assurances that the department remains 'totally committed' to the Strule campus. They explained that the issue with procurement was resolved and that site preparation work was well underway.
"The tendering process is currently underway and the public will get their chance to assess progress and have their say at an exhibition scheduled for November in the Silver Birch hotel.
"The Permanent Secretary also confirmed that the Strathroy Link Road is also going to plan and is scheduled for completion in August 2018. This is an important element of the Campus project but also a vital piece of infrastructure to re-connect the town and help alleviate traffic congestion in the town centre.
"On the topic of the vacated sites, a group has been established which includes the site owners, the Education Authority, LPS, Council and other important stakeholders to develop a plan that will make maximum use of the vacated sites for the economic and social development of the area. This will also be part of a public consultation in the future.
"In conclusion, the campus is the single biggest education investment in the north and we are totally committed to working with the Department of Education and all stakeholders to help realise its potential. Along with the associated opportunities arising from the vacated sites and the Strathroy Link Road it has created an important mood of optimism for the town and wider area".