Awards Day At New Look But Still Homely Colaiste Eile

The annual Awards Presentation Day of the unique Colaiste Eile Adult Learning Centre in Railway Road, Thurles was held in their new Thurles College of Education, which was recently opened by Mr Ciaran Cannon, TD, Minister for Training and Skills at a convivial gathering in the bright, modern but still homely college.

The annual Awards Presentation Day of the unique Colaiste Eile Adult Learning Centre in Railway Road, Thurles was held in their new Thurles College of Education, which was recently opened by Mr Ciaran Cannon, TD, Minister for Training and Skills at a convivial gathering in the bright, modern but still homely college.

The attendance also included the North Tipperary VEC CEO, Mr David Leahy, a

Galway man, like Mr Cannon, and both are congratulated on their magnificent hurlers’ famous and historic Leinster Senior Hurling Final victory. How sweet it is! Mr Leahy praised the staff, the team in administration, caretaking, cleaning, support services and teaching of the past and the present at the unique and distinguished Thurles academy.

The attendance also included Ms Bernie Gleeson, Administrator of Colaiste Eile; Colin McLean, Head of LIT Tipperary, Thurles and Ciaran Lynch, LIT Tipperary, Thurles; Seosaimhin Ni Cathail, Chairperson of the Board of Management of Colaiste Eile; Michael Lowry, TD; Michael Cleary, Mayor of Thurles, and Thurles Town Councillors, John Kennedy, John Kenehan, David Doran, Noel O’ Dwyer and Jim Ryan, and North Tipperary County Councillor, Seamus Hanafin, who presented the Student of the Year Peg Hanafin Trophy and Bursary to Nora Culleton, 5, Davis Road, Thurles. Seamus is Peg’s son. Also there was Councillor Willie Kennedy, Chairman of North Tipperary VEC, and Antoinette Coffey, Adult Education Organiser. Met also renowned thespian, Denis Heffernan of Gortnahoe /Glengoole Drama Group and author, John Fairbrother, who is wished well in his literary efforts on Amazon.

Met also Kitty Quinn, aunt of former Republic of Ireland striker, Niall Quinn, and also Michael Loughnane, Tipp’s top ceili and set dancer and instructor le gra don Gaeilge. Michael, Bandmaster of Thurles Silver Band, has designed a lovely new flag for Thurles. Also met Josie Delaney, who had great praise for Peg Hanafin who was unable to attend because of being indisposed. Josie recalled that the students of some years ago thought so much of her they presented the trophy in her honour as a mark of gratitude. Indeed, it was good wishes all around from the attendance for amiable Peg who has made a landmark contribution to the educational scene in Thurles and surrounding areas and who has always been a really wonderful and caring person who has inspired and earned the respect and gratitude of so many people over the years in this part of the world. Also there were Aileen Healy, Two Mile Borris (County Tipperary Childcare Co-ordinator, Michael O’ Doherty, Templemore College, and Eileen Kennedy, Templetuohy, a Counsellor with Thurles Education Centre, and Geraldine O’ Brien, Riverstown, Birr, Co-ordinator of Thurles Education Centre, and Mary Shortt, Thurles Community Hospital of the Assumption.

David Leahy lauded the commitment “of Colaiste Eile Co-Ordinator, Dr Laurenz Egan, who was present with his colleague and wife, Caroline, and also his parents, Joe and Margaret, and his brother, Patrick. Mr Leahy stated “I wish to avail of this opportunity to compliment the staff team (administration, caretaking/cleaning, support services and teaching), both past and present, who have worked with adult learners in Thurles. They have always worked to serve the needs of their learners in supporting and encouraging in every way possible. I know from listening to learners’ stories recounted to me over the past seven years that there are many learners who would not have succeeded without the help and professionalism of the staff. You have shown yourself to be exemplary public servants. It is not possible to say enough about all that Co-ordinator, Dr Laurenz Egan, has contributed over the last ten years to the adult learners in Thurles. You, Laurenz, are the person above all others who has enabled this positive development in Thurles to come to completion in the manner that is presented today”.

ddressing the students, Mr Leahy said “I hope the educational experience that you have experienced will serve to empower you to engage with other such challenges which life will present. Only next time I hope you will have an even greater degree of self-confidence to know that you can succeed. You now have a further challenge and that is to encourage others to follow in your footsteps and to instil in them a belief that they can achieve as you have achieved. Indeed, to point them in the direction of this new facility for adult education”.

Mr Leahy has visited Colaiste Eile on a number of occasions.

Dr Laurenz Egan, speaking in English and as Gaeilge, said it was a wonderful occasion for the students, and their families and friends and the Colaiste Eile team and North Tipperary VEC.

He thanked Minister, Mr Ciaran Cannon. He paid tribute to David Leahy CEO, Antoinette Coffey AEO, Liam McGrath, APO and all the Administrative Staff of North Tipperary VEC. He stated:” Today let me acknowledge your commitment and support to our staff and students and to your part in the realisation of this new facility.

To Pat and John Stakelum, of Stakelums Hardware Ltd, owners of this building, who with the vision of architect, Richard Rice, delivered a first class facility in partnership with North Tipperary VEC. We look forward to a long and lasting future partnership”. Dr Egan thanked contractors and suppliers, particularly Kevin Loughnane and JJ Sullivan.

Dr Egan stated “Education is a process or a journey and it follows us through all of our life stages from early childhood to our final days. The full complement of those due to receive awards today are aged between twenty something and ninety something years young.

We are all influenced by those around us and my own parents, Joe and Margaret, are wonderful examples of lifelong learners. In what are considered retirement years both my parents are actively working full-time, are still volunteering in their community. My parents are in the audience today and I would like to acknowledge their achievements to date and to wish them every success in their future studies and lives.

Just as my parents inspire me, you, graduates, today are an inspiring example also, and your witness will encourage others. In these challenging times we all need encouragement and hope and education and training offer an opportunity for both.”

Peg Hanafin is looking forward to coming to Thurles later in the year and we look forward to her calling into us then. Peg is the former Co-ordinator of Coláiste Éile and she wishes to convey her heartiest congratulations to each award recipient today, one of whom is her godson.

Following in the footsteps of Keith Morris, Thomas Ryan, Samuel Berry, Larry Buckley, Chris Clarke, Tina O’ Driscoll, Orla Treacy, Laura Halloran and Ann Carey the winner of the Peg Hanafin Trophy and €1,000 bursary for 2012 is Nora Culleton.

Antoinette Coffey (AEO) presented the VTOS & BTEI Student of the Year awards. From the ICT group this year’s winner is Maureen Ryan, from the General Studies group, the winner is Sean Loughnane and from the two year General Vocational Studies group the winner is Suzanne Ryan. From the part-time BTEI programme the winner is Christina Patterson.

Josephine Cahill, Chairperson of the Board of Management, made a presentation to the outgoing Student Council; Denis Tierney Chair, and Maureen Ryan, Co-secretary, the third board member, Thelma McGann, sent her apologies.

Josephine Cahill presented Ronnie Jackson with a token of their appreciation. Ronnie, a former VTOS student, works on a voluntary basis as an IT classroom assistant and the help and support he gives everyone, students, staff and management alike, is greatly appreciated”.

David Leahy made a presentation to Ms Bernie Gleeson. “Bernie puts in time over and above her obligation and treats everyone with courtesy, warmth and the height of professionalism”, said Dr Egan. Mr Leahy also made a presentation to Laurenz Egan’s wife, Caroline Egan.

Denis Tierney, chairperson of the Students Council, made a presentation to Minister Cannon. Dr Egan thanked Maeve and her team who prepared refreshments.

Mr Willie Kennedy, Chairman of North Tipperary VEC, stated:

“On behalf of North Tipperary VEC, We are especially pleased to welcome Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciaran Cannon T.D. and we greatly appreciate the fact that he has made the trip to the home of hurling today. Today is a most significant day in the life of Coláiste Éile and North Tipperary VEC and I am very proud to be associated with this event.

As a member of the Coláiste Éile Board of Management I have witnessed the significant efforts, particularly over the last twelve months, to make this a reality and I would like to wish Laurenz and all the staff of Coláiste Éile every success for the future”.

He complimented David Leahy and Antoinette Coffey for “their dedication and support of adult education across North Tipperary”


Peter Andrejevs, David Behan, Peter Bolger, John Buckley, Mary Carroll, Margaret Connors, James Costello, Johanna Cullagh, Nora Culleton, Bernadette Curran, David Curtin, Orla Devaney, Gerard Dollard, John J Donnelly, Matthew Dunne, Gerard Dwyer, Laurence Kavanagh, Deirdre Kennedy, Catherine Loughnane, Sean Loughnane, Christina Maher-Foley, Thelma McGann, Tracy Moore, James Moriarty, Thomas Morris, Rosie Nolan, Rory O’Donnell, Mary O’ Dwyer, Margaret O’Keeffe, Kevin O’Meara, Margaret Ryan, Maureen Ryan, Shane Ryan, Suzanne Ryan, Keith Scully, Kathleen Sheppard, Mary Slattery, Brendan Stokes, Michael Sweeney, Denis Tierney, James Webster, Frank Tynan.


John Buckley, James Costello, Matthew Dunne, Gerard Dwyer, Deirdre Kennedy.

VTOS (Advanced ECDL)

John Buckley, James Costello, Deirdre Kennedy.


Sam Berry, Ellen Burke, Jessie Bourke, Anthony Brolan, Margaret Byrne, Siobhan Cleary, Sarah Cooke, John Daly, Paul Danagher, John Fairbrother, James Fitzgerald, Gerard Flynn, Kathleen Hallissey, Denis Heffernan, Bridget Higgins, Christopher Jordan, Mary Kelly, Margaret Kennedy, Nancy Kiely, Martyna Koper, Daniel Leahy, Ann Lloyd, Mary Long, Michael Loughnane, Joan Madden, Michelle Loughnane, Eileen Maher (RIP), Patrick Maher, Robert Maher, Maura McGann, Pauline McMahon(RIP), Patricia Moloughney, Keith Morris, Bridget O’ Connell, Joseph O’ Connell, Jerry O’ Connor, Mary O’ Keeffe, Jim O’Regan, Christina Patterson, Margaret Power, Edel Quinn, Tom Russell, Catherine Ryan, Donal Ryan, Mary Shaw, Margaret Shortt, Phil Treacy, Mary Tynan.

Pictured at the annual awards day in the new “Colaiste Eile” building, Railway Road, Thurles, were, at back,(l to r): Cllr David Doran; Cllr Noel O’Dwyer; Cllr John Kennedy; Mary Cummins and Cllr Seamus Hanafin. In front(l to r): Margaret Tynan, Mary Tynan(91) and Mary Kelly. Photo: Brid Ryan