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Tuesday 24 April 2018

History repeats itself at school's relaunch

Majella O'Sullivan

THERE was a sense of deja vu about it -- it was the same school, the principal had the same name but the events happened 44 years apart.

Yesterday a primary school principal looked on with pride as a €400,000 extension to his school was officially opened.

Kieran Coffey, the principal of the Fossa National School, Fossa, Co Kerry, had worked hard with parents and the board of management to make sure the building project went ahead.

Exactly 44 years ago, his father Danny Coffey had stood in the same spot as Fossa National School was officially opened in May 1967.

Mr Coffey isn't certain if his family has a unique record but as far as he is aware they are the only father and son in Co Kerry to have both been principal of the same school.

It wasn't a case of a direct ascendancy though. Mr Coffey, whose father passed away in 1972, only took up the post in 1999.

"When the new school was opened in 1967 my sister Philomena was also teaching here, alongside our father," Mr Coffey said.

"I was away in college at the time but my youngest brother Brendan Coffey was a pupil at the school."

One of 10 children, Mr Coffey and four of his sisters followed in their father's footsteps and became primary school teachers.

However, he was quick to point out that the day was not a day for the Coffey family.

"It's a great day for the whole community and it is just wonderful that the pupils and staff have this upgraded, modern and secure building to work in," he said.

Past and present pupils joined staff, parents and school patron Bishop of Kerry Bill Murphy for a tour of the new facilities at the school whose past pupils include Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender.

Irish Independent

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