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Funding sought to save top school


Cistercian College Roscrea. Picture: Sean Curtin

Cistercian College Roscrea. Picture: Sean Curtin

Cistercian College Roscrea. Picture: Sean Curtin

Parents and past pupils have formed an action group to prevent the proposed closure of one of the country's best-known second level schools, Cistercian College, Roscrea.

The boarding school - whose famous past pupils include former Taoiseach Brian Cowen and former Tanaiste Dick Spring - was founded in 1905 by the Cistercians, but according to the school authorities, is no longer financially viable due to a decline in enrolments.

The college has consistently ranked among the top 10 academic schools in the country and has also won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in rugby and an All Ireland Schools hurling title in recent years.

The new action group has been working closely with the Abbot, Dom Richard Purcell, to try to prevent the proposed closure and is now exploring new options for school structures, including five-day or six-day boarding, as well as the current seven-day boarding regime.

The group has invited expressions of enrolment interest from prospective students and their parents via a survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/8TFHPBL.

Although a sizeable fundraising target remains to be achieved, the finance raised so far is well ahead of projections, the group said.

Ronnie Culliton, of the CCR Action Group, said: "The fundraising is going well. Naturally, parents responded the fastest - they are going to fight to keep it open. We also had a good response from past students."

Sunday Independent