Sunday 21 January 2018

'Heartbreak' at closure of boarding school

Cistercian College, Roscrea. Photo: PJ Wright
Cistercian College, Roscrea. Photo: PJ Wright

Conor Kane

Parents opposed to the closure of Cistercian College in Roscrea will meet to explore avenues which could be taken to keep the famous boarding school open.

"Heartbreak" was the reaction, said the parents' association, when the news broke on Friday that the Cistercian order had decided to close the school because of falling student numbers. There are currently 167 pupils according to the school, which is located at Mount St Joseph Abbey in Co Offaly.

Association chairperson Sinead Lawlor said relations and communications between the Cistercians, including Abbot of Mount St Joseph Richard Purcell, have always been good.

But she said that in this instance, there has been "an unfortunate gap in that communication".

Many parents didn't find out about the decision until they went to collect their boys on Friday, she said.

"CCR is another family for them (the pupils). The teachers and support staff are all family to them and treated them as their own kids. The boys are like brothers to each other. It's very, very understandable that this comes as a massive shock," she said.

Abbot Purcell said in a statement on Friday that the school has seen a 45pc drop in enrolment in the last 10 years, with just nine first years enrolled for next September. "Clearly this is unsustainable and the school is simply no longer financially viable. We were sadly left with no option but to conduct what we anticipate will be a phased closure of the school over the next 16 months," he said.

The school may stay open next year to cater for current second and fifth years as they complete their exam cycles.

Irish Independent

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