Bláth na hÓige, an Early Intervention centre for children with autism, in Scoil Íosagain, Aghada N.S. staged its official opening on Thursday October 24th last. Guests of honour, and former students, Conor Counihan, Cormac O’Keeffe and Kyra Owers performed the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon. Canon Denis Kelleher, Chairperson of the Board of Management and Dean Susan Greene blessed the new facility which will serve the local community for future years.
As Scoil Íosagáin has expanded in recent years (this is the third build in 9 years!) it was necessary to fundraise to properly finish the building. Darragh Musgrave, Chairperson of the School Extension Fundraising Committee, thanked the assembled guests, Parents Association, local businesses, companies, voluntary groups, families, grandparents, and friends of the school who played any role in successfully achieving the target of €125,000 in two short years! He emphasised the important message it shows to help those who may be seen as the minorities in our society. Bill Steele, Chairperson of the Community Council, committee member whose children attended Scoil Íosagáin, thanked Canon Kelleher for his continued support of education and local initiatives in the parish and also principal Lawrence Collins who brought the original proposal to the Board of Management.
Conor Counihan, former CEO of St Joseph’s Foundation, Charleville spoke of the positives for families and their children to be educated in their locality with their neighbours and friends instead of travelling distances to towns or cities. Past pupils Kyra Owers and Cormac O’Keeffe (former President of the Students Union) along with Conor then officially cut the ribbon.
Scoil Íosagáin principal, Lawrence Collins, referred to Scoil íosagáin, Aghada N.S.’ 200 year celebrations this year. Mr. John Roche in 1819 a local landlord provided a school for the local children and paid for it himself – 2019 also sees the locals coming together to provide education for their children and ‘paying for it’ themselves! He expanded on the central Catholic Ethos of school, welcoming children of all faiths and none, and making ethos tangible in our daily actions in school and in caring for all abilities in our locality. He asked the assembled guests to examine the similarities between children rather than the differences and to ‘listen with your eyes and heart!’ He wished that the school will continue to be at the heart of the community for future generations.
Builder Joe Buckley and foreman Eamon Egan, of Joe Buckley Construction were thanked as was architect Pat Cashman and QS Andrew Scanlon. The night concluded with refreshments in the school hall with piano music provided by staff member John Mannix. It was another night to remember in the 200 year history of Aghada N.S.