North Tipperary Deputy Michael Lowry has welcomed the opening of the new school extension in the Ursuline Convent Secondary School in Thurles and has heralded this achievement as a proud new chapter in the story of the school, and one that will help further and advance the school into the future.
Deputy Lowry praised the herculean efforts of all involved who fought doggedly and relentless over the years to ensure that this project was brought to fruition, despite all adversities faced.
Deputy Lowry stated, “I am personally pleased that my political support for the project has enabled the construction of this beautifully designed educational facility. I am delighted that following more than a generation of hard work by countless people we now finally see the opening of this new, top class facility in the Ursuline Secondary School Thurles. The new school contains the most up to date technology available and specialist rooms to support the wide range of subjects covered in the Ursuline. There are a number of new classrooms, with full ancillary facilities, a state of the art multime dia learning laboratory and new outdoor hard courts.”
“This is a proud day for the school and a testament to the efforts of all those involved over the years. Special mention must be given to Sr. Berchmans whose determination and perseverance never waned. The opening of the new school is due in no small part to her mammoth efforts. Sr. Berchmans was constantly on the case and relentlessly pursued new ways of driving this project forward. Despite the many obstacles faced in bringing this building to reality her vision and commitment never faltered. I would also like to commend the current principal Mary Butler, who has taken up the reins so ably and with the same determination and drive. I have no doubt that the school is safe is her hands and will continue to be a strong force in the Irish educational system. I would also like to commend and compliment the Board of Management of the school and all staff there and congratulate them on all they have achieved in delivering this project.”
Deputy Lowry continued, “The school had the foresight over 20 years ago to apply to the Department of Education for these facilities. At that time it was clear that the popularity of the school and its reputation nationally were causing a surge in numbers and a clear need for an updated facility. Despite this application being submitted some 22 years ago the pathway to this day has not been a smooth one as this building project suffered many setbacks and false dawns. For a long number of years this application languished in the Department of Education and was repeatedly passed over and ignored. Time and time again when funds became available various other projects were advanced while the Ursuline was effectively ignored.”
“When I first became involved with this issue and met with the Board of Management the project had been with the Department for some years and was making little progress. Indeed despite approval being given for this extension in 2002 nothing more happened for a further 7 years and the file simply gathered dust on a department shelf. During the lifetime of the last government and through sheer political will I engaged in stringent negotiations with the then Minister for Education Batt O’Keefe. Through these negotiations I was able to bring forward this project and give it the priority status it well deserved. I worked relentlessly on this project for some time and was delighted when in 2009 a breakthrough was made and this project was sanctioned to proceed to the planning stage. Since that time it has progressed smoothly through the various stages to where it is now, open and ready. I am hugely pleased to see this facility now at a stage where it is complete and available to our young students. ”
“The Ursuline Convent is renowned throughout the county and indeed the country for the excellence of its teaching staff and its commitment to quality and high standards. It continually ranks highly in the school league tables and its name has, through the years been synonymous with quality education, high standards and arts and sporting achievements. I am delighted that my intervention has brought the Ursuline to a position whereby the standard of their surrounds now finally reflect the standards that they have achieved educationally over the years,” he said.