The Marist Sisters, who have been involved in the community and in education in Charlestown for the past 70 years, have announced they are to withdraw their patronage of St Joseph’s Secondary School over the next three years.
Deputy John O’Mahony has spent the weekend meeting with staff representatives from the school after it emerged late on Thursday night that the Sisters would only continue to finance the school until 2014. If that decision is followed through on, then nearly 30 jobs will be lost to the Charlestown area, while the 211 pupils attending the school will have to find alternative schools to continue their education.
Minister of State Dara Calleary has confirmed his unyielding support for the students, parents and staff of the school.
Minister Calleary said: “Members of the staff of St Joseph’s Secondary School together with parents have been in contact with me in the aftermath of this shock announcement and I, like them, am deeply surprised at the news.
“However I wish to state quite clearly my commitment to assisting the management of the school in their quest to maintain the high standards of education that have prevailed in Charlestown for the last number of decades and I believe we can achieve this goal. There are a number of patronage models available for examination and we need to investigate which of these will be the best going forward for the school.”
Labour candidate in the upcoming General Election Dr Jerry Cowley has also pledged his support to the parents, pupils and staff.
“I will assist in whatever way I can to say stop to any proposal that will result in this school being closed. I am confident that should Labour get into government our reforming education policy can deliver the structures and supports to allow the community maintain and develop the school and its services.”