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New school opens in Dungiven

September 6, 2012

A NEW Irish language school in Dungiven opened its to doors to pupils for the first time this week.

Gaelscoil Neachtain is the first inter-denominational state controlled Irish-medium primary school in the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) area, and opened its doors to pupils for the first time on Monday, September 3, with an enrolment of 65 pupils.

The Chair of the Interim Board of Governors (IBOG), Nodlaig Ní Bhrollaigh, congratulated the newly-appointed principal, of Gaelscoil Neachtain, Marian Uí Cheallaigh, and wished her every success in her new role.

Ms Ní Bhrollaigh, said: “This is an historical occasion for all involved with Gaelscoil Neachtain.and for gaeloideachais in the area. We view this development as a progressive step as it will allow for the development and growth of Irish medium education and increase access to Irish medium education across the community. We are looking forward to supporting the school over the coming year and moving to permanent premises at the former controlled primary school in the near future.”

In May this year, the Education Minister John O’Dowd approved a development proposal to establish a free standing Irish-medium school, Gaelscoil Neachtain for the Dungiven area and approved the closure of the existing Irish-medium unit at St Canice’s PS – Bunscoil Naomh Cainneach which hosted an Irish Medium unit for 10 years.

With a wealth of experience in education in an Irish medium setting over the last decade, the new principal Máirin said: “I am delighted to be appointed as Principal of Gaelscoil Neachtain and have been working closely with the Western Board in planning and preparing for how the new school will operate.”

She added: “My ambition is to provide an excellent standard of education through the medium of Irish in a positive learning environment for all our pupils that will help enrich the lives of the children, their families and the wider community of Dungiven.”

The new school crest designed by local artist, Murrough O’Kane, portrays an image of a window from the old Priory in Dungiven as the school is named after the first abbot of the Priory, a Scottish born Saint called, Saint Neachtain and the uniform incorporates the famous Dungiven tartan.

Gaelscoil Neachtain is the second controlled Irish-medium school, after Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain in Belfast.