Thursday 2 October 2014

Champagne pops for turning of sod

Bill Browne

Published 26/07/2014 | 12:00

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Pictured at the 'turning of the sod' were Donal O’Sullivan Principal, Colaiste Mhuire, Buttevant ,Minister Sean Sherlock, Ted Owens, CEO Cork ETB and Lisa Fitzpatrick, who today honoured the memory of her late mother by opening the bottle of champagne that she bought in 1997 in celebration of the new school

THE distinctive pop of a champagne Cork was the spark for celebrations in Buttevant this week as the sod was finally turned on the new Colaiste Mhuire campus.

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The lengthy campaign to secure the new building had galvanised the whole community for years, with locals fighting a concerted campaign to secure the new facility.

While one of the driving forces behind that campaign, Mary Joe Fitzgerald, sadly passed away in January her spirit was very much present on Monday as her daughter Lisa fulfilled a pledge her mother made 16-years ago.

In 1998 she put aside a bottle of bubbly - promising to crack it open the day the sod was turned on the new site.

"My mother was a great supporter of the community and a vocal advocate for the new school. She told former county councillor Tommy Sheahan she was putting aside the champagne and it was not to be touched until work started on the school," said Lisa.

After fulfilling her mothers promise, Lisa described the sod turning as a "bittersweet occasion."

"It was sad that she could not be there to see it, and I know she would have been so happy and proud to see the day finally arrive. That said I know she was looking down with a big grin on her face," she said.

Lisa, who took over the running of her parent's pub The Welcome Inn with her partner Paudie O'Brien, said she is looking forward to the day when her own children will walk through the gates of the new school.

"My son Padraig is 19-months and we have another baby on the way. My mother would have been so proud of the fact they will be going to the new school," she said.

Junior minister Sean Sherlock turned the sod on the new €6.5 million campus at Station Road Creggane, which it is expected to open its doors in September of next year.

The Community College, which will be run by the Cork ETB, will be one of the most modern of its kind in the country incorporating specialist lecture rooms, music/dance workshops, laboratories, library, multi-sensory room, fitness suite and extensive outdoor play areas.

Minister Sherlock paid tribute to the local community for the work they had put in to make the new school a reality.

School principal Donal O'Sullivan summed up the feeling of the entire local community.

"The realisation of our new school campus, after many years of campaigning, is a dream come true for students, staff and the surrounding communities of Buttevant," said Mr O'Sullivan.


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