North Tipperary Deputy Noel Coonan has this week told The Tipperary Star that allowing for the in-take of first year teaching students to St Patrick’s College in Thurles, will give time for preparations for the proposed merger with UL and Mary Immaculate in Limerick.
Deputy Coonan who played a key role in securing the agreement to allow the four first year teaching courses to commence in September 2014, said that the positive news will pave the way for a teaching Centre of Excellence down the line.
“I wish to welcome the announcement that there will be an intake of students into St Patrick’s College, Thurles in 2014. This is positive news for the college and indeed the town of Thurles. This decision made by the Education Minister will allow for adequate time and consideration to be given to the merger of St Patrick’s College with the University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College into a Centre of Excellence for teaching.I have been lobbying the Education Minister for many months on behalf of the college seeking a successful merger and to ensure the college’s future. This is vital for the town and I will continue to do all in my power to achieve same,” said Deputy Coonan.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn TD, in a letter sent to Deputy Coonan, said that the department is ‘most anxious that the College can have an orderly withdrawal from teacher education which will not have a detrimental effect on it’s viability.” He outlined details of the decision to allow one mor eintake of students subject to the present cap on numbers and added that departmental officials from the finance section would be working out the details with Colleg authorities in the coming weeks.
St Patrick’s College has been an institute of education in Thurles town for 126 years and has a very proud tradition of working for and with the local community. It has been at the very heart of education and currently has about 260 full time students as well as around 100 part time students. There are 35 members of staff currently in St Patrick’s and the very fine facilities have been put at the disposal of local groups, organisations and associations.