First and deputy first ministers 'committed' to A5 and Magee

The A5 project and Magee campus
Image caption Both projects are said to be in the programme for government

The first and deputy first ministers have said they are committed to the expansion of Ulster University's Magee campus and the A5.

They were attending the Northern Ireland tourism awards in Londonderry on Thursday night.

Martin McGuinness said: "The Magee, A5 situation will be dealt with in the programme for government."

Earlier, the new Stormont Executive announced that it had reached agreement on a draft framework for government.

Image caption Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness are to "work together" on the Magee campus project

"I made my position crystal clear some time ago in the run up to the election," said Mr McGuinness, the Sinn Féin deputy first minister.

"During the course of the next number of months we are putting the framework programme for government out to public consultation, people will have their opportunity to contribute to that.

"Decisions have already been taken by the previous administration which Arlene and I were both part of in relation to the A6 and the A5," he said.

In February, Northern Ireland's then transport minister, Michelle McIlveen, announced that work could begin on part of the A5 between Newbuildings to Strabane in 2017.

A new public consultation on the £150m project is ongoing. It would see part of the road upgraded to a dual carriageway.

Image caption Work is due to begin on the A5 later this year

Meanwhile, a plan for the economic regeneration of Londonderry called the 'one plan' was created in 2010.

Created by the now defunct urban regeneration company ILEX, it said student places at Magee university needed to increase to around 10,000 by 2020.

The deputy first minister said he was content that number could be achieved.

"I'm very satisfied that the development for Magee will be included in the programme for government and that it will see us evolve towards that figure.

"We have a business plan, we have a new pro-vice chancellor of the Ulster University, Paddy Nixon, who, I think, understands what needs to be done at Magee."

First Minister Arlene Foster said both projects were of "strategic importance" to Northern Ireland.

"Absolutely we will work together on what needs to be done in relation to Magee," she said.

"I think it's fair to say that both he (Paddy Nixon) and Paddy Johnson from Queen's University in Belfast are very committed to working with us right across Northern Ireland, actually in providing access to university education for those people who, maybe in the past, didn't have that access and I'm quite excited about the conversations we've had with both of them to do that.

"It's important that we see everything joined up together in terms of the strategic way forward."

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