It was a special day for the pupils, parents and teachers of St Matthew’s NS in Ballymahon on Monday.
The sod was officially turned by the pupils, on the site where a brand new state of the art primary school will be built over the coming months. It is anticipated that the new eight roomed school, which will be built at a cost of €1m, will be officially opened in September 2014, and Sammon Construction - which signed the contract last Monday - has already gotten proceedings at the site well under way at this stage.
During the blessing of the site, Fr Padraig McGowan asked that the Lord to bless the construction and to shine his light on all the children who will learn and develop their skills there. “May almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit come down on you, and remain with you all forever,” he told the smiling pupils.
The effort to secure a new primary school in Ballymahon has been ongoing since 2004. Since then there has been a steady increase in the number of children enrolling year on year, and principal Herbert Farrell pointed to the “patience and dedication” of the whole community in getting the project to fruition. “We are delighted to get to this point with the construction of our new school here in Ballymahon,” Mr Farrell added. “The patience, support and dedication of the entire community towards this has been incredible. €1m has been earmarked for the project and we expect the new school to be opened by September 2014.”
Meanwhile Deputy James Bannon (FG) who was also present, alongside Cllr Séan Farrell (FG), Cllr Barney Steele (FF) and Cllr Mick Cahill (FF) said, that, the Ballymahon project was “yet another fine example” of the “investment in education” by government. “The Government is investing heavily in education in Co Longford - look at Edgeworthstown, and the Vocational School here in Ballymahon has also been refurbished,” Deputy Bannon said.
“Credit is also due to the parents, teachers, the board of management and the school’s principal Herbert Farrell, who he said, “worked with dedication to get this project to where it is today”.
He added: “I am looking forward to the opening of the new school next year.”