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New development will ‘future proof’ Gaelscoil

A RICH display of music and song greeted the education minister as she visited Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg in Ennis this week to announce a new multi-purpose hall and two Early Intervention rooms.
In a socially-distanced ceremony, some of the school’s 481 pupils showcased their talents to a small but appreciative audience including the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Mary Howard, board of management representatives and parents.
Addressing the gathering bilingually, the minister said she was very proud of the work being done.
“It’s a very positive day for the school and an endorsement of the very positive work that goes on an ongoing basis,” she said.
“There has been very strong commitment from the entire school team. The ongoing engagement with the Department of Education has been very positive. This school has grown and developed spectacularly in the last number of years. That’s a tribute to the excellent work that goes on here on a daily basis.”
Príomhoide Dónal Ó hAiniféin thanked the minister for facilities which he said will “future proof” the school. He paid tribute to those who founded the Gaelscoil in 1993. He referred to the status of the town as a Líonra Gaeilge, where Irish has an especially strong presence.
He also thanked LCETB, parents, politicians and the board of management. He noted that the current fifth and sixth class pupils will not get to use the hall, but that their younger brothers and sisters will.
The green light had previously been given for seven new classrooms, which will be constructed in tandem with the new facilities.
“This intervention by the minister, in announcing the hall and the double Early Intervention/ASD unit is really positive,” he said.
“It’s one planning application, which we’re hoping will happen during this year and then you’re going out to tender after a number of months, so I’m hopeful that we’ll see work happening on the ground here in the school year 2022/23.”
On the green light for the Special Education facilities, Mr Ó hAiniféin said: “We’re thrilled about that. Early intervention is key to everything. We do have an early intervention unit here with our neighbours in St Clare’s.
“They have lots of experience in that field, but now we will have an early intervention unit for the first time in a mainstream school in Ennis.”
Deputy Cathal Crowe, himself a national school teacher said the gaelscoil had made a strong case for the new hall.
“So much of the curriculum is delivered away from the desk – subjects like art, drama, dance, they need to be taught in a hall and they made a compelling argument that they should have a general purpose hall,” he said. “As a teacher, I’m envious”.
Senator Timmy Dooley noted that the development will now be done as effectively as possible.
“Thanks to the really hard work of Dónal and the board, and support from politicians, we have a positive outcome that will see the full project completed at the same time,” he said.
Councillor Mark Nestor, a former pupil of the Gaelscoil is now on the board of management. “I began my education at the Gaelscoil on the old site, further out the Gort Road,” he said. “Around the early 2000s, we moved out here and my education here was absolutely fantastic. It’s a much bigger school now. It’s great to see and goes to show the huge interest in Irish in the town. I wish the school all the success in the world.”
The minister later visited Clonmoney National School.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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