After 83 years, Co Longford Vocational Education Committee (VEC) is no more, and the final meeting took place at headquarters last Friday.
In its place is the new Education and Training Boards which will come into existence in the coming days and the first meeting of the Longford/Westmeath Education and Training Board is expected to take place in Longford on July 15 next.
The new Headquarters of the LWETB will be in Mullingar.
“Both Longford and Westmeath VEC’s have been working well together over the past few months and a lot of the preparatory work has already been done at this stage,” Chairman, Co Longford VEC, Cllr James Keogh (FG) said. “Longford can only get the best deal that it can from the new education and training boards, and we can be very proud of our young people. While we can educate them, it is an awful pity that we cannot provide jobs for them here, however, compared to their ancestors of the 1940s and 50s, they are doing very well.” ”
One of the longest serving members of Co Longford VEC then addressed the meeting. Cllr Gerry Brady (FG) has been in public life for many years and served on the board of the local VEC since 1985. “If your heart is open and free, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you,” he smiled. “I’m one of the oldest members of this VEC and I have seen a lot of change and a lot of different personalities come and go in that time. We are moving on now and while it is sad, perhaps it is time to get away from parochialism and start thinking Longford/Westmeath. Things will carry on - new people, new ideas, that is what is needed.”
Rosemary Killian Johnston who has been acting CEO of the former VEC for the past three years and principal of Ardscoil Phadraig in Granard prior to that, then spoke. “When I started in Granard there were seven first years and at that point we decided to build up the school,” she added.
“Together with the board of management, the VEC, the parents and staff, we got the school to where it is today, and one of the greatest moments for me was the official opening of the Cannon Kelly Hall. All the schools are strong and doing well and will continue to do so into the future.”