Sunday 19 January 2020

€2.7m grant for Coláiste Íosagáin regional project

Concubhar Ó Liatháin

A long-awaited boost for the Múscraí Gaeltacht and the opportunity to transform the derelict for decades Coláiste Íosagáin into an ultra modern regional digital hub is how a €2.7m grant announced yesterday is being described.

The award announced by Business, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Heather Humphreys as part of the third call of Regional Enterprise Development Fund will pave the way for an ambitious development plan of the former secondary school prepared by Údarás na Gaeltachta in co-operation with local groups in Múscraí.

The €2.7m, along with an additional €1m from the Údarás itself, is to be invested in the development of the first phase of a multi phase project which will see the central section of the building repurposed as a digital hub with regional offices for Údarás na Gaeltachta, a 'G-teic' hot desking facility to accommodate start-up companies, one person enterprises and remote working, training facilities and an exhibition hall. A community consultation is underway at present to investigate local needs for the development of the wings of the building for future investment opportunities.

Originally built in the 1930s, it was run by the De La Salle Order as a preparatory secondary boarding school for aspiring teachers until the 1960s when it became a secondary school and began to accept day pupils. The De La Salle Order announced it was leaving in 1989 due to the lack of vocations. Over the years luminaries like Paddy Moriarty and his brother GAA commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh were among its most famous past pupils.

The announcement was greeted positively by local elected representatives with Fianna Fáil TD Aindrias Moynihan describing it as a great boost for Múscraí and a welcome opportunity to develop the digital hub facility.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed welcomed the award which he said would breathe new life into a building which had been idle for a long time. "I'm pleased to see a project which will finally see a project which will deliver a sustainable future for Coláiste Íosagáin."

Currently the project is awaiting planning approval for its ambitious blueprint and this decision is due in the next few weeks.

In the anticipation of a planning green light, work should begin on the site shortly after a building contractor is secured.