New chapter begins for Clonmore NS following €500k upgrade

Niamh Dillon

Reporter:

Niamh Dillon

Email:

niamh.dillon@tipperarystar.ie

Clonmore NS is now firmly ensconced in the 21st century thanks to €500,000 upgrade and extension earning it the new moniker as the “gem of Clonmore.”

Scores of parents, grandparents, neighbours and well wishers gathered at the school last Friday for a celebratory mass to bless the new building and the official unveiling of the school’s new state of the art facilities.

“I think everyone will approve of what has been achieved,” said a pleased Mr Brian Kenny, principal of Clonmore NS, who added jokingly that the outer colours on the school should be painted a “deep shade of maroon” in support of Templemore rather than the “blue and white that smacked of Thurles Sarsfield,” earning him a round of applause in the process.

Work at the school began in June 2016 and was finally completed last July with the addition of two new classrooms, office space, full wheelchair accessibility, removal of prefab as well as refurbishment costs to include new partitions, electrical and mechanical upgrade, dry lining where necessary and a designated learning support and special needs room and library.

Today the 1884 building has been brought completely up to date with new classrooms and freshly painted hallways festooned with colourful artwork and the achievements of past and present pupils.

On hand for ribbon cutting duties was man of the hour Pat Murray who helped to spearhead the project after coming on board as chairperson in 2013.

“Few would achieve what Pat has achieved,” Principal Kenny told the crowds gathered in the schoolyard. “He has become a huge part of the school in a few short years despite no relatives, no connections to Clonmore, he gave it his all. Hand on heart this would not have been possible without Pat Murray and he is a great ally and friend to Clonmore for ever more,” added Mr Kenny.

The much needed funding was announced in 2015 following talks between then Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan, Principal Brian Kenny and Board of Management Chairperson Pat Murray after former Minister Alan Kelly helped to arrange a meeting in Dublin.

“Everyone played their part in bringing this project to fruition from the Parents Association, to the Board of Management and Lawrence Leahy who was a gem to find this project which will reap tremendous benefits and ensure the vibrancy of Clonmore for years to come,” concluded Mr Kenny.

Special thanks was also given to Liam and Sean Grimes who had spent the previous 10 days making sure historical photos of Clonmore NS as far back as the last century adorned the school walls and the final finishing touches were put in place for the grand opening.

“As a school we have almost reached the goal of our journey, bringing the school built in 1884 right into the 21st century and 2017,” said Mr Pat Murray who said it was an emotional occasion as the nine new junior infants who started school in the village this September would never face the inadequate facilities that previous students had become accustomed to.

Mr Murray also praised the work of former Minister Alan Kelly for his “invaluable advice and support” in helping the school successfully secure the much needed funding from the Department of Education in 2015.

“Alan was a great support to us all in Clonmore and his support and guidance has been invaluable. The pupils here are the future of Clonmore and I’m confident that each one of them will have the best possible education and start in life under the guidance of Clonmore’s excellent staff and top class facilities," he said.

Speaking at the official opening on Friday Deputy Kelly said: "In 2015 I announced that Clonmore National School had been allocated funding for major renovations/extension at the school. The school was approved for funding for two mainstream classrooms, refurbishment costs to including new partitions, electrical and mechanical upgrade, dry lining where necessary, wheelchair access and prefab removal. The announcement followed many meetings with the then Minister for Education and Skills Jan O'Sullivan TD.

"It is always a great sense of satisfaction when a project you support and get funding for is completed and that's especially the case when it comes to all the schools I've supported in Tipperary. Last Friday was a special day in Clonmore as we opened their new school. I visited the school at the Chair of the BOM's request in 2014, delivered funding for the school, and now it's opened. Thanks to the Chair of the Board of Management Pat Murray, Principal Brian Kenny, members of the BOM, teachers current and past for all their help and support with this. Now we have great facilities the children attending the school, their parents, and staff".