Saturday 23 March 2019

End of era as Brothers signal their departure after 121 years in town

MARCH 1990

After over a century in Dundalk major changes in the status of the Christian Brothers in Dundalk were announced in March, 1990 when the trusteeship of their schools in town was transferred to the Archdiocese of Armagh from August 1st, 1990.

It marked the end of the Brothers 121 years of association with the town, and would also mean that the post primary school formerly run by the Brothers would have to be renamed.

The primary school would become part of the parish, while the Secondary school would become a Diocesan College and his Eminence, Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich would be the chief trustee and patron.

The Brothers in a statement regretted that due to rationalisation within their own Order they had to withdraw from Dundalk after so many happy years.

The wind of change had been blowing through the CBS schools in Dundalk for some time for a Board of Management took over the running of the secondary school in early 1986 from a single clerical manager and later that year Frank Cooney became the first lay principal of the school.

Another milestone occurred in 1987 when girls were admitted for the first time in the all Irish stream.

There were just four Brothers living in the local monastery, but having all retired from teaching it was expected that they would leave the town in the near future.

There were 550 pupils in the secondary school, the highest number ever and 340 in the primary school where the first lay principal, Liam Shaw said that the Brothers would be badly missed and that nine of the teaching staff in the primary school were former pupils of the school.

* To honour the Brothers contribution to education in the town it was agreed by the committee running the St. Patrick's Day parade that the four remaining brothers in the town would lead the parade.