Clontibret N.S. Official Opening 29th Sept
Clontibret N.S. Official Opening 29th Sept.

Julie Crawford - Principal; Rev Paudge McDonnell P.P.; Minister Batt O'Keefe cutting the tape before entering the school; Canon Jonathan Heyhoe, Chairperson; Margaret Conlon T.D

Minister for Education & Science Batt O'Keefe cuts the tape!

Members of the Board of Management together with the architect Vincent Galligan and the contractor Mervyn Niblock

Speech by Canon Jonathan Heyhoe
As a local community we are truly grateful to the Minister and his department for funding this new school and for his visit today for the official opening; to the Architect for his design and for overseeing the work and for his ready cooperation with the B.o.M. at all stages; to the Contractor and his team for doing the work to such a high standard – and at such a good price! We were pleased and relieved to complete the school within the budget that we were allocated! Also we were delighted at the generous support of the local community in responding to our appeal to fund excellent technology for us in the form of interactive whiteboards.

This new building replaces a building in Gallagh that had served the local community for over 180 years, so we trust that it will have a valuable long-term future ahead in providing really good quality education. We have certainly been blessed by having excellent teachers at the school and I would like to acknowledge their dedication and hard work and to thank in particular the Principals who have served at the school during my ten years as Chairman of the B.o.M. It was during the time of Olga Neill that the Department gave us the initial “green light” to explore a suitable site and despite many unfortunate delays we have reached this momentous day!

I have to single out Mrs Julie Crawford for her tireless work in the last few years and her patience in perseverance in coping with frustrations and setbacks.

The new school will continue under Church of Ireland management and to be guided by a Church of Ireland ethos - an ethos which is Christian and not sectarian and which values the other Christian traditions in our community. In particular we have worked well with local Presbyterians since the closure of Creeve N.S. and its amalgamation with Clontibret N.S. The school will be guided by Christian values in its teaching of the curriculum and its work upheld by the prayers of the community.

To this end we have already shared in prayer to God and trust that the B.o.M., the staff and pupils, the parents and all members of the local community associated with the school will continue to receive the blessing of God’s grace, wisdom and guidance in the years ahead.

Bishop Michael Jackson's Message
The Department changed the date. Unfortunately due to this our Bishop was very disapointed that, due to another booking, he was unable to attend, but he sent this message.Canon Stewart represented him.

I wish to offer my congratulations to the pupils, principal and teachers of Clontibret National School on reaching this exciting day in the life of the School. Today is the day on which your new School is opened officially by the Minister for Education and Science. It is an honour to have him present and we all thank him for being in Clontibret for this important event. Today is a day that you will all enjoy and remember. It is a day when your new School is dedicated to serve the needs of the communities to which you belong, to provide a safe and exciting place for children to learn and to flourish as individuals and as members of a School family. It is a day on which you yourselves may rightly feel a sense of pride and a sense of history. It is a day on which the blessing of God Almighty is asked for the School and all its activities and the people associated with its life. I would also like to congratulate the chairperson and members of the Board for their vision and dedication to this School both when it was on its old site and now that it is on its new site. My thanks go also to all parents and others who have worked so hard to enable the dream of everyone to come true. Not least do I thank those who have made it possible, through their generosity, for the School to be built here within the parish on the spacious site where it and its surrounding grounds now stand. The facilities which you enjoy are of the highest standard. The opportunities which you and your successors as teachers and pupils have are of the highest order. I spent part of an afternoon quite recently being shown round your School by Canon Heyhoe and I was most impressed. I must apologize for not being able to be with you. The Celtic Bishops no we are not all tenors! that is the bishops of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the bishop of the Isle of Man are meeting from Monday to Thursday of this week in Wales and the meeting was arranged two years ago. Even I have to do what I am told to do and I cannot be marked: Absent from this meeting. In offering you and the Minister for Education and Science my apologies for absence from your School, at the same time, as patron of your School, I want equally to wish you a most enjoyable day together. I have asked Canon Stewart, himself no stranger to Clontibret Parish, to represent me. May God bless all you do and all the good things you will do in the future together.

Michael, bishop of Clogher

Date: 29 September 2008