Council Rows in Behind St Patrick’s College

Town Council Gets Behind St Patrick’s College in wake of report on transfer of education courses.

Town Council Gets Behind St Patrick’s College in wake of report on transfer of education courses.

By Noel Dundon

North Tipperary County Councillor Seamus Hanafin has called on the Minister of Education to secure the future of St Patrick’s College in Thurles through a strategic alliance with the University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College to provide a satellite Centre of Excellence in Thurles.

Cllr Hanafin lodged a Notice of Motion at the monthly meeting of the council in Nenagh last week and sought the support of members in his call.

“The Government’s new policy, seemingly, is to phase out the smaller colleges providing teacher training. There is 175 years of history attached to this college and at the present time there are 40 staff working there and 265 full time students. No state funding has been used in this college apart from capitation grants and I can guarantee you, there will be no savings made either. Many students need a smaller college environment to flourish and would not do as well in the bigger colleges. This report has been sent to the Implementation Committee and it is not a done deal. I would hope that the Minister will see and acknowledge the importance of St Patrick’s College and will act accordingly,” Cllr Hanafin said.

Cllr Phyll Bugler supported the Notice of Motion while Cllr John Kennedy said that Minister Alan Kelly is doing his utmost for the renowned facility. Cllr Jim Ryan said that Thurles cannot afford to lose any more jobs and he put the onus back on the TD’s to ensure that teacher training is not lost to St Patrick’s.

Cllr John Carroll formally seconded the proposal while Cllr Pauline Coonan said that St Patrick’s College is synonymous with education throughout the whole world through the work of the clergy. “This is an area of education we should be trying to retain and we have to recognise that not everything has to go outside the county,” Cllr Coonan said.

Cllr Virginia O’Dowd agreed with Cllr Hanafin that not all students benefit from large educational settings while Cllr John Hogan described the proposal to move the 19 educational centres to six larger ones, as another attack on rural Ireland. “It is a shame to see something like this being proposed. It doesn’t make sense at all,” he said.