A LOT of spade work has gone in to the amalgamation of three schools in Doon, and the first sod on the new school’s site was turned on Tuesday.
Anne Kelleher, chief executive of CEIST (Catholic Education and Irish Schools Trust), who will be the trustees of Scoil na Trionoide Naofa, did the honours. She was joined at the ceremony by the principals of St Fintan’s, St Joseph’s and St Michael’s - Eddie Bourke, John Kinsella and Michael O’Connor. Fr Tony Ryan performed the blessing with the assistance of Sr Kieran.
A pupil from each of the schools represented the student body - Gerard Sheehan, Triona O’Dwyer and Kevin McMahon.
The new school, expected to be completed by March 2014, will be the first voluntary Catholic secondary school opened in over 20 years.
Ms Kelleher said it was an historic occasion for the Catholic voluntary sector.
“The school will supplement and enhance excellent teaching and learning in St Fintan’s, St Joseph’s and St Michael’s. It will have a faith based ethos. It was a great privilege to turn the sod because there is a rich heritage of education in Doon going back over a century,” said Ms Kelleher.
The Mercy Sisters came to Doon in 1865, and donated the land for this school in Liscaugh.
The Christian Brothers arrived in 1874 and have a link to this day in the village. Br James L Dormer, principal of the CBS primary school, is the last remaining Christian Brother teaching in County Limerick.
“To see the new school starting in the shadow of the old buildings links the new school to their founding intentions.
“Where we were standing we could see the footprint of the foundation of the building. A significant amount of progress has been made in the month that BAM have been on site,” said Ms Kelleher.
She wished to thank the Minister of Education for authorising the financing of the project during the economic downturn and everyone who has brought the project to fruition.