John Power

Pictured at St Paul

A €3.6m extension and refurbishment programme has marked the 40th anniversary of St Paul’s Boys National School in Lisduggan.

Officially opened by Martin Cullen, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, on Monday morning, the new extension delivers 13 new mainstream classrooms, along with the extensive refurbishment of the old 4-classroom building.

Established in the Manor of St John building in 1968, St Paul’s Boys NS originally had 80 pupils and four teachers. The following year it moved to a green field site on Church Road and the next decade saw significant expansion: the school had six classrooms added in 1972 to accommodate its 460 pupils and six more in 1975 (by then the school had 890 pupils).

“Today we are seeing further enhancement of the education facilities for the St Paul’s Boys National School”, Minister Cullen told those assembled for Monday’s opening. “As you can see, the improvements are extensive and have delivered a wonderful facility to your community. I am confident this new building will enable the teaching staff, under the direction of the Principal, Ms Helen O’Riordan, to continue to provide a first class service to the pupils in their care for many years to come.”

Board of Management Chairperson, Fr Pat Fitzgerald, recalled the early days of the school and its neighbourhood. “From its earliest days, the community defined within the boundaries of St. Paul’s Parish has been blessed with a dynamic spirit of community involvement and local initiative, well supported by statutory services. Today it boasts a range of community facilities and services to rival any in Ireland.

“In the forty years of its life, St Paul’s NS has served this community very well and developed its own unique tradition. Many of its past pupils are now well established in the professions and in the trades, at home and abroad. The new school facility is an apt salute to the endeavours of former staff, to past pupils and their families, and to those who voluntarily managed the school over the years.”