An Foras Pátrúnachta / Archive by category "Press" (Page 2)

05/01/2015 Longford Leader

Longford given green light for new Gaelscoil

A brand new, state of the art Gaelscoil is on the cards for Longford town, the Department of Education & Skills revelaed this week.

Details of the announcement were made by Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan as part of a €2.2bn government investment package.

Building work on the new Gaelscoil an Longfoirt at Farneyhoogan will get underway next year in accordance with a five year blueprint to meet changing infrastructural and rising population demands.

One of over 270 new school projects, a Department of Education spokeswoman confirmed the new school is likely to be completed as early as 2016.

The finer points of the project, including costs and its anticipated duration were not disclosed for fear of jeopardising the tendering process.

Local Fine Gael TD James Bannon said the news could not have come at a better time for teachers and parents alike.

Equally, the spin-off benefits to the local economy would be numerous, he said.

“I am absolutely delighted that construction on a new school for Gaelscoil an Longfoirt, Fearann Úi Dhuagain will get underway in 2015,” said Deputy Bannon.

“I have no doubt that the construction of a new school will have a positive impact on the teachers, pupils and the local community; equally it will also provide a significant boost in terms of construction jobs.”

The Legan TD paid tribute to principal Yvonne Ní Mhurchú for her own efforts in helping to bring the project to fruition.

“Gaelscoil an Longfoirt, Farneyhoogan and its Principal Yvonne Ní Mhurchú have campaigned over a long number of years for upgraded facilities.

“I compliment them on their efforts, which have culminated in today’s announcement.”

Speaking to the Leader, Ms Ní Mhurchú said the latest developments amounted to a “great news story” for Longford.

She also added, “this is an indication that the Department of Education & Skills is investing in Irish language education”.

She went on to say that a number of sites were currently in the pipeline and it would be the Department and Longford Co Council that would eventually determine which site was the most suitable for a new school.

“Thank God the funding is secure for the new school; in the New Year we will get the site determined and we will then have the design team and architects on board,” she continued.

“The money has been ring fenced and the Department is putting money into Irish education here in Longford. We anticipate at this stage that the new school will take six to 12 months to complete. We are looking forward to the next 12 to 18 months.”

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05/01/2015 The Irish Times

Forum head calls on church to speed up schools handover

Patronage forum chairman suggests cutting funding if no progress occurs

The Department of Education needs to wield a “stick” against the Catholic Church if it wants to make progress on the divestment of schools to other patrons, according to the chairman of the forum on patronage and pluralism.

Prof John Coolahan says the church’s refusal to take “a proactive stance” in promoting the divestment of schools undermined the process from the outset, and he suggests cuts in school funding might be considered to concentrate minds.

UN human rights monitors have criticised “the slow progress in increasing access to secular education” in Ireland and are warning the Government it faces fresh censure in the absence of reform.

Former minister for education Ruairí Quinn once talked about removing half of the State’s 3,100 primary schools from Catholic Church control to create a more diverse and inclusive system.

To date, however, the church has yet to hand over a single primary school to another patron, although it did merge two Catholic schools to create a vacant property for Educate Together.

One Church of Ireland school has transferred to Educate Together, the multidenominational patron which has also opened nine new primary schools in areas of growing populations.

Prof Coolahan said: “There needs to be a carrot and a stick and I think the stick wasn’t much applied as time went on.

“If there was no movement at all then I do think that you could say schools in this area – though this might be a bit crude – would have reduced capitation,” he added.

Educate Together

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has said she hopes to be able to announce this month plans for “three to four” further Educate Together schools, including in Tuam and New Ross.

These are two of 28 areas that have been earmarked for change on foot of parental surveys in select locations.

Prof Coolahan, who oversaw the forum’s main report in April 2012 and has contributed to subsequent update reports, suggests it was a mistake to leave the Catholic bishops, as patrons, to drive the reforms.

While they arranged for boards of management to meet parents and to discuss the merits of changing patronage, he said, “they rarely turned up themselves.

“They didn’t explain, ‘look, we would like this to happen, we think this should happen because we have concern for the public good – love your neighbour’.

“They have never taken a proactive, direct stance, using their offices to open people’s minds. They have done it at a distance.

“It was never going to happen if you were just going to leave it open like that. It always needed church and State to use their good offices at local level where there was a legitimacy of moving.”

Phasing out

In its latest report, the UN committee overseeing the implementation of the covenant on civil and political rights said it was concerned about the slow progress, not only in divesting patronage but also in creating non-denominational schools and in phasing out integrated religious curriculums in State schools.

Rapporteur for Ireland Yuval Shany told The Irish Times: “We do not have the power to sanction states but we would contend the State is under a legal obligation to take on board the recommendations in good faith.

“The way the Government undertakes these reforms is really up to the Government but it should go towards a system which offers the student options.”

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05/01/2015 The Herald

Mother Teresa's old school 'Gaelwarts' in demand as a wedding venue

Meet the class in Dublin's own 'Hogwarts' school in the building where Mother Teresa learned English.

The doors of Gael Cholaiste an Phiarsaig opened in September and accepted its first 16 students.

The Rathfarnham school is located in a former Loreto Abbey on the southside of the capital.

It has been described by many as Ireland's answer to Hogwarts, but the students have a better name for the historic building.

"They love it here. It is the Irish answer to Hogwarts, the students call it Gaelwarts," principal Joe Mac Suibhne told the Herald.

It was planned for development until the crash and then Nama took the keys. Nama sold the school earlier this year to the Department of Education for a reported €2.3m.

It is the first post-primary Gaelscoil to open on the south of the Liffey in more than a decade and it's is hoped that the entire building when completed will cater for 500 students.

It is believed that the Department of Education will need to invest a total of €12m into the building to fully revamp it. Mother Teresa of Calcutta studied English here when she came to Ireland in the 1920s.

Mr Mac Suibhne said that his young pupils do understand the significance of their school.

"It is a really beautiful building," he said. "The school is in demand but we are only enrolling the year before students are due to start. We are not letting people enrol ten years in advance; we want to keep it fair."

The mixed school will take in three classes of first years next September. There are currently six teachers working in the school.

"It's a great atmosphere we have at the minute, it's like a family. We hope to keep hold of that," he said.

Students and staff are currently restricted to one part of the building.

"It will be refurbished as we go along," the principal explained.

"We are actually based in the oldest part at the moment, it was built in 1725. It's a beautiful period building."

"The rooms are all very large, with 15ft high that all have ornate coving," he explained.

There is also a church located within the abbey.

"The church is a fabulous building. I have people emailing me to have their weddings here," Mr Mac Suibhne revealed.

It's not the first time that the 250-year-old building has housed a school. Up until the mid-1990s it was Catholic boarding school for girls.

Any building work that was carried out was done very carefully and an architecture team are currently drawing up plans for the refurbishment.


mother teresa

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19/11/2014 Leitrim Observer

Bernard Dunne coming to Leitrim to support plans for second level gaelscoil

The Dublin Dynamo, champion boxer and celebrity presenter of Bród Club (RTÉ) Bernard Dunne will address a public meeting in the Glens Centre, Manorhamilton at 7.30pm on Thursday, 20th November in support of plans to open Coláiste Loch Gile, an Irish medium secondary school servicing Leitrim, Sligo and South Donegal.

Parents and primary school pupils in 4th, 5th and 6th class are particularly welcome to attend.

Other speakers being confirmed include Brendan Ó Dufaigh, principal of Coláiste Oriail the 2nd highest transfer to university secondary school in Ulster, Pádraig Ó Baoill: Founding committee member and History teacher in Gaelcholáiste an Eachréidh (Loch Réidh) and Katriona Kerrigan, a past-pupil of an Irish medium secondary school and teacher in Gaelscoil Chnoc na Ré, Sligo.

It is envisaged that the Irish medium secondary school, Coláiste Loch Gile, will commence in September 2015.

Pupils from all lingustic and cultural backgrounds will be most welcome at this new school which will serve pupils who presently attend English-medium schools in the Northwest as well as those attending Gaelscoil Chnoc na Ré in Sligo, Gaelscoil Chluainín in Manorhamilton, Gaelscoil Liatroma in Carrick in Co. Leitrim, and Gaelscoil Eirne in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.

The benefits of immersion education, and in this case education in Gaelic medium school, where all subjects except English are taught through Irish, has been well documented over the past three decades.

Research by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland shows that pupils of Irish-medium schools attained a higher academic standard than other pupils in the same age group.

Studies here show that pupils of Irish-medium schools achieved levels greater than the national average in reading and writing in both Irish and English.

Further studies have indicated that students in Gaelic medium schools perform as well as if not better in mathematics than their peers in English medium schools.

Data from other European countries shows that bi-lingual children learn further languages with greater ease.

Research also shows that students from Irish medium schools have a greater tolerance of other cultures and are more open to cultural diversity due to the cultural enrichment they experience in these schools.

A similar meeting wil occur on Thursday, November 27th in Dorrian’s Hotel, Ballyshannon at 7.30pm on Thursday, 27 November.

Further Information: Anna Ní Bhroin, Cathaoirleach Coiste Bhunnaithe Coláiste Loch Gile, (087) 0667600

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20/10/2014 West Cork Times

Ní Riada praises Clonakilty Gaelscoil for ‘resounding success’ in Comenius Scheme

SPEAKING in Clonakilty Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada praised the staff, parents and children of Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin on their successful participation in the European Comenius program.

The entire school community welcomed a group of 28 students and 16 teachers from Croatia, France, Germany and Italy on a week-long visit as part of the Comenius program.

The programme seeks to link schools, children and teachers across Europe in order to share experiences and develop cooperation.

Liadh Ní Riada said, “I am delighted to be in Clonakilty today to meet the visiting children and their teachers, and to catch up with all at the Gaelscoil here. Príomhoide Carmel Nic Airt and the staff, management and parents have done an excellent job in making this visit a success.

“Its great to see so many strong friendships built between children from across Europe, and to hear positive feedback from their teachers. The theme of the visit is ‘building bridges of understanding’ and we all have something to learn from these children. Despite their different languages they managed to spend a week playing and learning together, communicating through play, sport, song and dance.

“Its particularly heartening to hear Gaeilge being used side by side with Croatian, French, German and Italian in Clonakilty this week. Parity of culture and language is central to respect and cooperation throughout Europe, and I was happy to see that in evidence today. Unfortunately it is not so apparent in the European Parliament where I still cannot conduct my business as Gaeilge. The responsibility for this lies with the Irish Government and I reiterate my call to them to act now.

“A huge maith sibh to all at Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin, and slán abhaile to their visitors!”

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24/10/14 Longford Leader

Pupils of Gaelscoil Longfoirt pay poignant tribute to their late classmate Jessica Jeeti

Gaelscoil Longfoirt held a special mass and a memorial service on Friday in a poignant tribute to their past pupil Jessica Jeeti who tragically lost her life on June 28.

In attendance were all the pupils of Gaelscoil Longfoirt, teachers, parents and the family and friends of Jessica Jeeti.

School Principal, Yvonne Ní Mhurchú, warmly welcomed Jessica’s father Jim and her siblings Jeoffrey, Jamie and Jack as well as the many family friends from the African community.

Ms Ní Mhurchú talked about Jessica as a beautiful, bright and talented girl who would always be remembered in Gaelscoil Longfoirt. She also thanked the celebrant Fr Brendan O’Sullivan for his support to the school and the community during this period.

The choir of students from Gaelscoil Longfoirt sang hymns to remember their former classmate and friend. The instrumental was provided by the school pupils on the tin whistle which was assisted by Bridie Gobl on the organ.

Jessica’s classmates took part in bringing up mementoes symbolising Jessica’s vibrant personality and contribution to school life in Gaelscoil Longfoirt. From loom bands to art supplies the children remembered Jessica in their own special ways.

The children played a special role in the mass with personal readings and prayers of the faithful. A poem written by Jessica’s former teacher Múinteoir Caitríona was also recited by Jessica’s classmates.

During the sermon, Fr O’Sullivan talked of how Jessica was sadly missed within the community of the school, which was also her family.

He remembered in prayer Jessica’s mother Pat and the other women who tragically lost their lives in the horrific June road collision – Queeneth Esezabor and Fanny Akenbor.

Fr O’Sullivan also spoke about the importance of symbols during the Mass. He agreed that with symbols we no longer need words. Symbols speak directly to our hearts.

The ceremony closed with a blessing of a remembrance bench to be placed in the garden with a commemorative plaque.

The garden in Gaelscoil Longoirt is a place where the pupils connect with nature and so it is apt that Jessica’s memorial bench is placed in the garden.

A beautiful weeping willow tree, donated for the occasion by Brendan Farrell of Ardagh Village Landscapes was planted on Friday last beside the bench in the school garden.

Ms Ní Mhurchú concluded the occasion by thanking the school community for all their support and encouragement throughout the very difficult time for Jessica’s family and the wider family in Gaelscoil Longfoirt.

Go ndéanfaidh Dia trócaire ar a h-anam dilís.


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20/10/14 North Countyleader

New Gaelcholáiste For Balbriggan


A new Irish school, Coláiste Ghlór na Mara opened its doors for the first time recently.

This much anticipated day was the culmination of six years of determined campaigning by Coláiste Ghlór na Mara’s founding committee, headed up by Tim Ó Tuachaigh.

Principal, Aoife Elster, welcomed the first 26 pupils to their temporary facility in Castlelands, Balbriggan. She is joined by six other newly appointed teachers, who together will offer pupils an extensive curriculum and choice of subjects all as Gaeilge.

The Gaelcholáiste will consist of six classrooms, a science laboratory, a learning support unit, Art Room and a staff room as well as a general purpose area.

In 2016, the Gaelcholáiste will move to a 1000 pupil new build, which will be located adjacent to the new ring road, in order to cater for the 880 pupils already enrolled. This is indeed a very exciting time for everyone involved and staff and pupils alike are determined to follow in the footsteps of other Gaelcholáistí throughout Ireland as regards teaching excellence and academic achievement.

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13/10/14 Mayo Advertiser

Westport school hoists country’s first anti-bullying flag

A Westport Gaelscoil has become the first school in Ireland to fly the Blue Shield Flag for its robust anti-bullying policy.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in Gaelscoil na Cruaiche yesterday (Thursday ) to raise the Blue Shield Flag, which is an initiative by the ISPCC.

The Blue Shield Flag recognises schools who have strong anti-bullying policies and promote a climate of openness and support in responding to any bullying concerns.

Some of the measures introduced at Gaelscoil na Cruaiche include an anti-bullying awareness week and appointing an anti-bullying coordinator.

School principal Mairéad Ní Ruáin said the school had carried out considerable work with the ISPCC to “sustain and develop a warm and caring atmosphere where all children feel safe and secure.”

Speaking at the flag raising ceremony, An Taoiseach congratulated the school on their achievement.

“The ISPCC Blue Shield Flag is a testament to their positive action and determination to ensure a safe and secure school environment for all children and is a great example for all schools to follow to combat bullying,” he said.

Last year the ISPCC worked with 100 schools in reviewing and developing their anti-bullying policies, and it has worked with 71 schools so far this year.

Fiona Jenning, regional ISPCC representative, said bullying is a consistent issue that needs to be addressed.

“Through the Shield My School campaign, the ISPCC offers support to the whole school community in actively responding to this concern,” she said. “We hope that Gaeslscoil na Cruaiche will be the first of many schools [to win the Blue Shield Flag] nationally.

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29/9/14 West Cork Times

Clonakilty Mayor opens new “Le Chéile” facility at Gaelscoil

MAYOR of Clonakilty Colette Twomey recently performed the official opening of the new “Le Chéile” facility at the local Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin. “Le Chéile” is a new state-of-the-art facility on the school grounds which Gaelscoil pupils can attend before and after normal school times.

Príomhoide of An Gaelscoil, Ms. Carmel NicAirt said that the facility was put in place in response to some parents working away from Clonakilty during the day who had difficulties delivering and collecting near school times.

“They approached us to enquire if we would consider putting a service in place whereby the children could be dropped off earlier in the mornings, or stay on up to 6.00pm in the evenings in a supervised setting. We conducted a survey among our school families to ascertain interest and proceeded with the facility during the summer as a result.It is a local initiative, responding to a local need”, she said emphasising that “Le Chéile” is not part of any franchise or company but a Gaelscoil service for families of the Gaelscoil.

Named “Le Chéile”, (the Irish word for “Together”), the not-for-profit facility employs Kate Ní Shúilleabháin who has a degree in Childcare and has six years experience in childcare work already. It is expected to expand over the coming months with two other employees being taken on.

Mayor Colette Twomey praised the initiative whereby the school has responded to parents needs. “It’s a win, win situation with employment created, and parents assured that their children are cared for in a professional environment on the school campus outside of usual school hours”, she said as she wished the facility and the Gaelscoil well into the future.

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29/9/14 West Cork Times

Clon Gaelscoil raise funds for Jason’s jeep

GAELSCOIL Mhichíl Uí Choileáin participated in the recent no uniform day when pupils in all schools throughout West Cork were encouraged to come to school in plain clothes and make donations to the Jeep for Jason campaign; €630 was raised by the Gaelscoil pupils.

The school also held a coffee day and cake sale with proceeds divided between the Jeep for Jason campaign; Just One and the school’s ASD Unit; this realised another €315 for Jason’s Jeep.

A cheque totalling €945 from the two fundraisers was presented by Príomhoide of Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin Ms Carmel Nic Airt to representatives of the Ballinascarthy Community Association who are spearheading the Jeep for Jason campaign.

Pictured are Dr Jason van der Velde, West Cork Rapid Response; Dr. Jason’s son Nikolas who is a pupil at the Gaelscoil; Betty Hennessy, Ballinascarthy Community Association; Colette Twomey, Mayor of Clonakilty; Kate Crowley, Ballinascarthy Community Association; Ned Flynn, Treasurer, Ballinascarthy Community Association and Dena O’Donovan, Director of West Cork Rapid Response.

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