Fr Stan Deegan, Maurice McCormack (main contractor), Cllr Frank McDermott, Minister Peter Burke, Bishop Dinnihan, Martin Hanly and Deputy Robert Troy at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Edmonton NS officially opened and blessed

The €1 million Edmonton National School, Killucan, was officially opened and blessed by the Bishop of Meath, Most Rev Dr Tom Deenihan on Friday last, June 9. Pupils, parents, staff, friends and local dignitaries gathered in the sunshine to witness a milestone moment in the history of the school.

St Patrick’s, Edmonton, was established in 1858 and now has eight staff and 90 pupils, and capacity for more in every classroom.

Minister for State Peter Burke, Deputy Robert Troy, Cllr Frank McDermott and local church and community leaders attended. Very Rev Stan Deegan, PP, Killucan, was on hand to welcome guests and even to make them tea.

School principal, Martin Hanly likened the new building to “a little modern spaceship” that had been dropped into this rural part of Westmeath. He outlined the arduous journey that led to this day and paid tribute to those who made a dream a reality.

He thanked the three local representatives and former education minister, Joe McHugh, for their help in securing grant aid. He congratulated the design team, led by architect Pat Weafer, and the builders, led by Maurice McCormack, on a job well done.

Mr Hanly said the staff work tirelessly to create an environment that fosters “intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and personal development”. He acknowledged the “incredible support” of the parents, community, and neighbours in that quest.

Mr Hanly told the pupils that the school was their sanctuary, a safe place for them to explore their passions, challenge themselves and discover their potential. He urged them to take chances and not to fear failure.

He remarked that in a rapidly changing world, it is crucial to equip young people with the tools and skills needed to thrive. At Edmonton, they are committed to providing a holistic education combined with academic excellence, values such as empathy, resilience and adaptability, to foster an inclusive and diverse community that celebrates individuality and makes everyone feel valued, respected and empowered to make a difference.

Mr Hanly said those in third, fourth, fifth and sixth classes remember when we had “no playgrounds, no field, no tarmac area, just dust, dirt and noise”, and promised: “We won’t have to go back to that.”

He thanked the board of management, past treasurers, Philomena Lawlor and Freda Egan, the current treasurer, Joanna Farrell, former staff board members, parents, pupils, and parents association members “who laid the groundwork for what we have here today”.

He thanked the school secretary, Ursula Losty, deputy principal, Maeve Wright, Niamh McEntegart, school representative on the board of management, and staff who worked as a team to make the day possible.

Mr Hanly paid tribute to Very Rev Fr Mark English, retired PP, Killucan, and former chairperson of the board of management for his “immeasurable help and support during the application and the build process”. He thanked his wife Trina and sister Siobhan for their support, patience and candid advice.

Mr Hanly added: “The school community wishes to thank the caretaker Martin McHale for all his work his work for this event and during all the weeks of the school year. To find a proud, dedicated past parent that is willing to spend time working in our school like he does says a lot about the local spirit in Edmonton.”

The school won the Cumann na mBunscol Division 3 hurling trophy for the first time in seven years, and medals were presented to the winning team by Mr Hanly: Senan Corroon, Niamh Brady, Sean Nea, Padraig Casserly, Lucy Coleman, Jamie Leech, Saoirse Lawlor, Luka John Fitzsimons, Tom Leech, Cian Lawlor, Padraig Whyte, Niamh Whyte, Amelie de Lacy and Erin Corroon.

The whole school choir then performed a rousing rendition of A Million Dreams under the direction of Maeve Wright. Bishop Deenihan unveiled a plaque commemorating the occasion, and the official ribbon cutting ceremony followed.

The formal duties over, the guests were given refreshments and a guided tours of the brightly coloured classrooms.

Erin Corroon and Padraig Casserly from 5th class were the meeters and greeters at Edmonton NS.
Ms Wright led the pupils as they sang A Million Dreams.
Ursula Losty (school secretary) and Niamh Murphy (SNA).
Fr Stan Deegan, Maurice McCormack (main contractor), Cllr Frank McDermott, Minister Peter Burke, Bishop Dinnihan, Martin Hanly and Deputy Robert Troy at the ribbon cutting ceremony..
Dermot Brady, Matt Melvin and Sé McCarthy at the opening.
Emmie and Sinead Mitchell at Edmonton NS.
Doireann, Shane and Rebecca O'Neill took care of the car parking.
Martin Hanly (school principal) was the MC on Friday morning.