In a complete break from current cost-cutting trends, a number of development and expansion projects for schools and youth projects around Mayo have just been announced.
CEO of Mayo VEC, Katie Sweeney, told members the good news at their meeting this week when she reported that under a US ‘Caterpillar Foundation Grant’, Frank Brady, to whom great tribute was due, had succeeded in securing €29,000 of a €40,000 fund available for the refurbishment and enhancement of the Ballinrobe Youthreach facility.
Under the Buildings Projects programme, the official opening recently of the new extension to Crossmolina and St Brendan’s had provided a new flagship of the quality of VEC facilities and services on offer. Additional schools now set to benefit, the CEO added, are Davitt College Castlebar with the completion of the long-sought after sports hall due for completion on July 16; natural gas heating of €6,000 also for the hall; an additional €65,333 for sports equipment; and €29,000 for disabled access development.
The amalgamation of Scoil Damhnait and McHale College in Achill is proceeding well with planning permission in place including a new sports hall and two new classrooms to replace existing prefabs coming under construction this summer.
Under the Emergency Fund, McHale College will also receive €61,000; Coláiste Chomain, Belmullet is to receive €177,000 for heat replacement; Moyne College, Ballina, €675,000 plus €48,000 for structural work; Carrowbeg College, Westport, €50,000; Davitt College, €84,000.
Welcoming this ‘very positive’ news, Cllr Pat Kilbane stated that building projects had been in abeyance for years and it was tremendous to see so much money coming to the schools.
Cllr Blackie Gavin said Davitt College was delighted with the sports hall after a 20-year battle to get it, and paid tribute to former principals Patsy Noone and Iosaf McGowan for their perseverance. “It is very fitting also that it will be named the Joe Langan Sports Hall, after the late VEC chief,” he said.
Cllr Michael McNamara said it was exceptional to have such a progressive works programme in the current climate.
CEO Ms Sweeney agreed: “It has been a good summer so far. We don’t do no.”