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Cistercian Roscrea parents begin campaign to save school from closing

Cistercian College Roscrea

The Parents Association of Cistercian College Roscrea have wasted little time in calling a meeting in an effort to prevent the school from closing its doors.

They have organised a gathering for 7.30pm this Wednesday night, February 22, in the County Arms Hotel in Birr.

They are asking “all interested stakeholders who wish to look at the viability of the school going forward” to attend the meeting.

An announcement was made on Friday that the school was to close after 112 years.

Students and teachers were informed shortly before they broke for mid-term break and an email was then sent to parents and past pupils as well as a statement to the press.

It is proposed that no new 1st year students be taken this September while the current 1st, 3rd and 4th years would have to leave and move to alternative schools. The option will be given to existing 2nd and 5th years to remain in the school to see out their state exams.

It was also stated on Friday that “the school has witnessed a 45% drop in enrolment in the past 10 years with just nine 1stYear students enrolled for September 2017″.

“Clearly this is unsustainable and the school is simply no longer financially viable. We were sadly left with no option but to conduct what we anticipate will be a phased closure of the school over the next 16 months.”

The all boys private seven-day boarding school has a long association with Laois, although it is based just a couple of miles from Roscrea town and just inside the Offaly border.

Its current Dean of Studies (principal) Gerry Grealish has been a long-time resident in Laois as has one of the school’s English teachers, Mark Carey. Science teacher Brenda Murray (nee Hughes) is from near Killenard originally while the late Gerry Maher (also an English teacher) lived for a number of years in Portlaoise prior to his death in 2013.

A number of its current students are from Laois including a large representation on its current senior cup rugby team. 

The school has a proud sporting tradition and won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup only two years ago, in 2015. They also won the All Ireland senior hurling ‘B’ championship on a number of occasions.

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. Husband of Emily, father of William, Lillian and John, he's happiest when he's telling stories