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Major capital funding announcement for schools

By editor - 18 November, 2015

Catholic Schools Week launch at St Ultan's Ballyfermot. Pic: John McElroy

Pic: John McElroy

Bishop Kevin Doran has welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Education and Skills of major capital funding for the amalgamation of Saint Aloysius College and Saint Joseph’s College on the west side of Athlone.

The announcement by Minister Jan O’Sullivan is part of the Department of Education and Skills’ new programme of capital investment in schools 2016 to 2021.

According to the Bishop of Elphin, it will assist in catering for the increased demand for second level places in Athlone and South Roscommon due to a growing population in the region.

“This investment by the Department of Education and Skills is a significant vote of confidence in the new co-educational second level school which is due to open its doors in September 2017,” Dr Doran said in a statement.

“It will bring state of the art educational facilities to the vast Summerhill site near the growing Monksland area. This will allow for an enhanced range of subjects, educational programmes, greater provision for students with special education needs and more extracurricular activities that parents would rightly wish for their children in the years to come.”

“It signals a high level of confidence in the project and is a testimony to the long tradition of educational excellence of both schools. We are indeed grateful for the enthusiasm and hard work of all those involved over the last few months.”

Separately, on Tuesday, Rev Dr Dermot Ryan, President of St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny welcomed the announcement by Minister o’Sullivan concerning the future of second-level schools in Kilkenny.

Noting that St Kieran’s College is Ireland’s oldest Catholic Secondary School, Dr Ryan said from its foundation in 1782, it has played a vital educational role in Kilkenny City and throughout the Diocese of Ossory.

Since 1979, Saint Kieran’s has worked closely with the ETB (Education and Training Board) to facilitate the best possible options for the education of all students in Kilkenny.

In his statement, the president of the college said with educational changes, current needs and growing demands, it became obvious that the arrangement is unsustainable.

“With this in mind, I have as President of St Kieran’s – on behalf of the Bishop of Ossory and Patron, Séamus Freeman SAC and the Trustees of St Kieran’s College – decided to offer to the Department of Education and Skills a site for the relocation of two schools for Kilkenny City.”

“The offer of this site for ETB schools continues the tradition of the commitment of the Diocese of Ossory and Saint Kieran’s College to excellence in education in Kilkenny City and surrounding area. It facilitates choice and real opportunity for students and parents.”

In a statement, Bishop Freeman of Ossory said, “The Catholic Church is very much committed to Catholic education. However, we must continue to recognise the importance for all involved, teachers, parents, students, by encouraging and supporting other educational models.”

“I am grateful for the collaboration of all involved over the past number of years in enabling this project to reach its fullest potential. Today we bring good news to the faithful in Kilkenny and in the Diocese of Ossory.”

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