O'Dowd says Lisanelly is "the only show in town".


Sinn Fein's Declan McAleer described the "unprecedented opportunity" represented by the Lisanelly education campus in Omagh, on 19 February 2013.

The former army base is to become the site for a number of schools from different educational sectors with the potential for shared facilities.

Mr McAleer said the aim was to to modernise post-primary education in the Omagh area, and that research showed there was widespread, significant support for the campus".

Tom Buchanan of the DUP expressed fears about delays in advancing the development.

He said questions were being asked about the department's commitment to the campus.

Ulster Unionist Ross Hussey was also concerned about the pace of development.

He made reference to Omagh High where "the school is falling down around them".

Joe Byrne of the SDLP spoke of the need to "get onside" the boards of governors of the local grammar schools, which had expressed a reluctance to transfer to the campus.

Education Committee chairman Mervyn Storey wanted answers from the minister on delays.

"Let us have certainty. Let us have clarity," he said.

Sinn Fein's Barry McElduff was full of praise for what he called "an iconic project".

The Education Minister, John O'Dowd, said Lisanelly would deliver a joined-up, shared future for the young people of Omagh.

As for the boards of governors who opposed the project, the minister said his "loyalty lies with the Lisanelly campus".

He said there was "only one show in town" and until Lisanelly was completed, "I am not envisaging moving forward any other capital project in Omagh".

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