independent

Monday 20 May 2019

Minister gives hope to St Mary's

Thomas Walsh, Deputy Tony McLoughlin, Cllr Marie Casserly, Cllr Sinead Maguire and representatives from the Save St Mary’s College Working Group, Anne Marie McCormack and Katrina Cunniffe with Minister McHugh
Thomas Walsh, Deputy Tony McLoughlin, Cllr Marie Casserly, Cllr Sinead Maguire and representatives from the Save St Mary’s College Working Group, Anne Marie McCormack and Katrina Cunniffe with Minister McHugh

A meeting with Minister for Education Joe McHugh has given hope to Ballisodare that its local secondary school might yet be saved from closure.

A delegation met with the Minister at the City Hotel in Sligo on Friday and he stated the Department of Education will not allow St Mary's College close.

He also confirmed another interested patron was in contact with the Department of Education and that he would have no issue funding another patron to take over management of the school.

Delegates from the Save St Mary's College Working Group went away happy that they had the Minister and his Department's full support. The school was set to close in three years.

Negotiations with other patrons interested in the facility, believed to be the ETB, and the current patron, CEIST (Catholic Education An Irish Schools' Trust) could begin in the coming weeks.

The Minister advised that a letter will issue from his Department in the coming days outlining the process involved.

Local election candidate, Thomas Walsh who met the Minister said: "I welcome the Minister's backing for St Mary's College and am delighted with the news that the Department will not support any such closure.

"There currently are 174 students in the school and other surrounding post primary schools are close to capacity. This whole process has caused, needlessly, much worry to families of both current students in the school, future students and the community as a whole.

"The community now has a job to rebuild the confidence around St Mary's College and work on a long term development strategy that will see St Mary's thrive for years to come. It will continue to have my full support.

"Enrolments for September will continue and together we will ensure St Mary's will thrive again."

Sligo Champion

News