Springvale sees green light

July 2, 1999

While Northern Ireland's political talks were in the balance this week, a Pounds 70 million scheme for a radical partnership in further and higher education across the peaceline in Belfast drew nearer.

The University of Ulster and the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education have at last raised their Pounds 30.7 million share for the Springvale venture.

The cash came from a variety of sources, including Millennium Fund money, the international Fund for Ireland, private backers and the institutions' own coffers.

Governors at Belfast Institute approved a plan that dates back almost ten years. The Springvale Board, the governing body for what has been called the Educational Village, first met then.

Negotiations on the legalities, governance and structures for Springvale are said to be at a fairly advanced stage.

Northern Ireland minister Mo Mowlam has pledged to provide another Pounds 40 million. Work on the ground should begin in autumn.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who is MP for the area, said: "The start of construction is the culmination of years of hard work by the west Belfast community, and is long overdue. But it is equally important that once the development gets off the ground all stages proceed from planning to construction and servicing."

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