Public meeting on agriculture college closure

A public meeting will be held in St Mary’s Community Centre in Mountbellew next Monday night, November 23 at 9pm. The meeting is called to discuss the already announced proposed closure of the Franciscan Agriculture College, Mountbellew.

Local TD Paul Connaughton said the parish of Mountbellew together with thousands of past pupils all over Ireland cannot come to terms with the Teagasc decision to close Mountbellew Agriculture College, a college with a proud tradition for more than 100 years.

“If the proposed closure goes ahead it will mean that there will be no residential agricultural college in the west of Ireland. To make matters more difficult to understand the college never had higher numbers seeking places than during this academic year.”

The loss of the college in economic terms to the town of Mountbellew and to the surrounding parishes is nothing short of disastrous, according to Connaughton. It is estimated that the closure of the college is the equivalent to a factory of 100 workers closing down, so great is the influence of the college on the prosperity of the town.

“Mountbellew Agriculture College blazed a trail over 20 years ago when it teemed up with GMIT to develop third level education courses in marketing and associated courses, which have proved immensely useful to so many students. However it is for its excellence in turning out well trained young farmers that it has become a national treasure, with countless thousands of people all over Ireland remembering with pride and joy their stay in Mountbellew”, said Connaughton.

From a local point of view the closure of the college will stretch the emotional ties that bind the Franciscan Brothers with the local community. Deputy Connaughton said that the Franciscan Brothers played an enormous role in the development of Mountbellew in a thousand different ways during the years and it would be a calamity for the town if the college was closed.

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