The development of a new state-of-the-art Ennis primary school will “stand the test of time” for future generations, according to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Speaking at the official opening of Scoil Chríos Rí, Cloughleigh, Ennis, on Friday morning, the Taoiseach told students and staff they had an “incredible campus” with “wonderful new school buildings”.
The new modern spacious facility has resulted in the demolition of old prefabs and the provision of high-tech equipment in each classroom for the 210 pupils and 26 staff.
Deputy Leo Varadkar said he was delighted to be present to open these “magnificent school buildings”.
The Taoiseach said this modern new learning space was a credit to everyone in Ennis and the country.
He said all the Oireachtas members who were present on the day including Minister of State, Pat Breen, Deputy Joe Carey, Deputy Timmy Dooley and Senator Martin Conway were all strong advocates for the county.
The Taoiseach was also joined for the visit by Minister of State, Andrew Doyle and he acknowledged the attendance of former Dáil Deputy, James Breen and former Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy.
“This school has been helping children reach their potential for more than 40 years and these new school buildings build on this work as a new generation of school learners have an even better future.
“We can see this all around us from the enthusiasm of the students and the beautiful playing of the school band with such a diversity of instruments.
“I know that Clare is well known for its traditional music but it is great to see so many musical instruments being played, the dancing on the way in and all the other activities.
“This says to me this school will be more than a school, it will be a community of learning where learning is enjoyable and it will also be a sharing of ideas and experiences,” he said.
He said that students in primary school, secondary school and college learn as much from each other as they do from their teachers.
Commenting on the wide range of facilities in Scoil Chríost Rí, he said it was clear that learning also took place outside the classroom with a big emphasis on sport, music, mental health and well being.
Whether students are playing camogie or football, he pointed out students would learn something valuable about teamwork by working together, while those taking part in swimming and athletics would learn about endurance and excellence.
With up to 150 students enrolled in the school band, the Taoiseach described this participation level as “extraordinary”.
In recent weeks, the Fine Gael leader admitted he was “inspired” by children in Ireland and 1.5 million around the world who participated in mass protests about the need to action to tackle climate change.
“It reminded adults and politicians we have only one planet and it is our responsibility to bring this planet to a much better place than we inherited.
“That is why the country is going to act decisively to protect our environment, reduce our carbon emissions and develop new ways of doing things.
“Many of our new school buildings are doing exactly that with near zero energy and environmentally friendly buildings.
“I know this new school embraces this by taking part in the green schools project and biodiversity projects. Each of these environmental projects remind us of the beauty and delicacy of our natural world and having us preserve its heritage for future generations,” he said.
School principal, Gearoid Roughan said he was very proud and honoured to welcome everyone to the official school opening, which he described as a very historic day.
He thanked the school building committee board of management and everyone who was involved in and associated with bringing this project to fruition.