St Mary’s Brollagh will close - report

Matt Britton

Reporter:

Matt Britton

A school on the Donegal/Fermanagh border which was the subject of controversy in September 2009 over a threatened closure is once again in the news as late Monday afternoon The Commission on Catholic Education released a report confirming the closure of St. Mary’s Brollagh.

A school on the Donegal/Fermanagh border which was the subject of controversy in September 2009 over a threatened closure is once again in the news as late Monday afternoon The Commission on Catholic Education released a report confirming the closure of St. Mary’s Brollagh.

In a report published yesterday morning it was confirmed that the trustees will initiate immediate discussions with the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) with a view to consulting on the closure of St. Mary’s High School Brollagh.

Former SDLP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Tommy Gallagher yesterday told the Donegal Democrat, “This is an exceptionally unfair outcome and I would have expected the Catholic Church to work on the basis of equality for all.

“I would also have thought that they would have worked in accordance with guidelines established by the Department of Education which states that no pupil should be more than 45 minutes from his/her place of education.

“This is a rural area, not everybody has cars and public transport is limited - pupils will have to travel for well over an hour if they are relocated.

“This is quite a large school with up on 130 pupils, 12 teachers and eight other staff - the role and benefits these schools play in their local rural community cannot be quantified by enrolment numbers.

“The plan to close this school is an indefensible plan and goes against the guidelines laid down by the Dept. of Education and the concept of equality in education.

“Two years ago we mounted a strong campaign involving teachers, parents and the children themselves.

“I would be hoping to initiate dialogue with the CCMS and hope that there will be a more commonsense approach. The benefits small schools offer their local communities far outweigh any other so-called disadvantages.”