NEW SCHOOL EXTENSION
OPENED IN BALLYHOOLY
92-year-old Nora Beecher was delighted to perform the official opening of Ballyhooly N.S.’s new extension with the school’s youngest pupil, Cliodhna Faye, last Thursday – some eighty years after Nora was a pupil at the school.
The school’s oldest living pupil presented the school principal Deirdre O’Brien with a beautiful copy of a photograph of her younger self and her classmates – taken at the school in 1929. She told today’s students: “I hope when you leave Ballyhooly that you will always have happy memories of your school years as I had of mine nearly 80 years ago.”
Deputy Tom Barry told staff, parents and invited guests at the opening of the school’s two-classroom extension: “In Ireland, everything is achievable through our education system. It is open to everyone to succeed.” Deputy Barry commended the government and Department of
Education on their expenditure on schools in recent years and looked forward to the official opening of the extension of neighbouring Killavullen school in the near future.
He also paid tribute to the schools success in securing their third Green Flag, for water conservation. Through their work on the water onservation project, the school managed to reduce consumption from 18 litres per person per day to 8.6 litres per person per day.
Deputy Barry, who expressed his delight at being able to attend the event, reminded people of his connections to Ballyhooly; as his mother’s family are connected with the townland of Rahard and his father’s family are connected with Gortroche. He was delighted to see Nora Beecher performing the official opening as her house was like a second home to him over the years.
Board of Management Chairman Denis Hickey outlined the long road to securing funding for the extension project. Ballyhooly N.S., he said, got its first portacabin in 1995 and its second in 2007. Every Board of Management since, he said, has fought for permanent additional accommodation for the school’s now 136-strong student population.
Principal Deirdre O’Brien said: “I want to very much acknowledge the patience and perseverance of staff, parents and pupils because portacabin life is not always easy and it had its ups and downs.”
Seamus O Ceallaigh, from the Department of Education, welcomed the fact that the monies for these projects came through the European Investment Bank and Deputy Barry confirmed that, in a meeting with Minister Noonan in Killavullen the previous week, he had discussed
directing more funding from the European Investment Bank towards existing SMEs and start-ups. He is hoping to meet with Minister Noonan and the Secretary General of the Department of Finance next week to further this matter.
Councillor Tom Sheahan, Tom Barry TD and Mrs. Nora Beecher