SCENES of jubilation greeted Rugby World Cup star Keith Earls and Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan as they attended the official opening of the newly-amalgamated Thomond Primary School in Limerick this week.
More than 200 pupils have “adjusted beautifully” since the amalgamation of St Munchin’s CBS, St Munchin’s girls primary school and St Lelia’s infant school this September.
Principal Rena O’Shea said that the children were excited about “being part of history” and that it was a “seminal day” for the school, as the Minister and the rugby icon were greeted by parents, pupils and staff at the gates of the Ballynanty campus for the launch.
Earls, who grew up “around the corner”, said that he was “delighted” to be invited to the event, and thanked all of the schools that showed support while he was playing for Ireland in Cardiff during the recent World Cup.
“A lot of fellas like to go back to their roots. It keeps you grounded a bit. This school is just a stone’s throw from my house, and it’s great to come back and see some old faces,” he said.
Minister O’Sullivan said that “all credit is due to the three schools”, and that any amalgamation “is not easy.
“There was a lot of discussion and collaboration before the decision was made. They really did engage with the community, and everyone was happy with the decision that was made. And our department was supportive in providing some funding for extra classrooms, and generally supporting the process along the way,” she said.
She added that the amalgamation means that “you have three relatively small schools coming together to make one big, strong, new school”.
Meanwhile, the construction of the school’s extension, which comprises four classrooms, and a new playing pitch have been approved by Limerick City and County Council.