EDUCATION Minister Caitriona Ruane has officially opened the Naiscoil Chill Locha in Killough which was set up in September 2010.
Speaking after the event, the Minister said, “The aim of a nailscoil is to enhance through the medium of the Irish language, the development and education of children. The values and benefits of early years learning are well documented.
‘It is important that our children have the opportunity to start and finish their education using their native language. This is a right that more and more parents are demanding and as a result we have seen a rapid expansion in the Irish-medium sector.
“I want to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life. I can see from being here that this is an aim shared by all at Naiscoil Chill Locha. I would like to congratulate all those involved. It is the drive and determination of the staff, parents and local community that have ensured we arrived at this point. I want to wish you all every success in the future. ”
As parents, children and guests gathered at the new school in Killough, Martin Rice, the Naiscoil Chill Locha chairman and Sinn Féin candidate for Down District Council, said he was “delighted and very proud ” of the group finally moving into their new premises last Thursday.
He said, “After two years hard work and intense pressure, we have finally seen the fruits of our labour and I would like to thank everyone involved in this project, including Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta and Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta, with a special word of thanks to Pilib O Rúnaí, who provided great direction and guidance at all stages of this long process.
“I must also mention the role played by Kinderhouse, a Dutch charity who kindly gave us the use of their hostel in the village, and without such efforts we would not be standing here today.
“Most of all I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the parents, staff, and community here in Killough and surrounding areas who made all of this possible. It is their determination and drive that has brought us to where we stand today, and I have no doubt that because of their actions they have enhanced through the medium of Irish, the development and education of our children.
“It is important that our children have the opportunity to start and finish their education using their native language. This is a right that more and more parents are demanding and as a result we have seen a rapid expansion in the Irish-medium sector across the North of Ireland in recent years.”
The Naiscol currently has 10 pupils and when term starts in September there will be 13 enrolled. The school has been passed to accomodate 42 pupils, but Martin Rice said, “Although that is the ceiling for pupils, we could never achieve this because the number of teachers required would be too high and we just simply could not afford that.”