The old Scoil Mhuire primary school building in Portlaoise has been purchased by Laois County Council from Portlaoise parish – and it will be used to as a new home for two of the county’s biggest local music groups.
The school has been vacant for the last year since the new combined Holy Family school moved to a site at Aghnaharna just off the Stradbally Road.
The 1.2 acre site is at the back of the old Shaws building on Main Street. It hasn’t been disclosed how much the site has been sold for.
“It is proposed in the short term to use the vacant school, comprising 1,161 m2 for the purposes of providing music and performing art education to over 600 young people in the county under the direction of the Laois School of Music and Music Generation Laois,” said CEO of Laois County Council John Mulholland during his monthly report under the Corporate Affairs and Information Technology section.
Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme that gives young people access to high quality performance music education in their locality. Laois School of Music is the Council’s music education scheme, run alongside the Laois-Offaly Education and Training Board. Currently they are both based on Railway Street.
The decision was warmly welcomed by Cllr Willie Aird as “a very good choice”
“We have to have a place for Music Generation – there is 600 people using it.
“It’s not appropriate for them to be moving from A to B to C and it’s not fair on the people delivering the classes either.
“It’s a gem of Portlaoise and I’ve said all along that it’s not an area that could take huge development.
“It’s very good news on behalf of Laois County Council and I would like to praise the CEO for his foresight.”
“Members should also note that in the medium to longer term the site is of strategic importance in developing the them of ‘Fort Protector’ and in exposing further heritage assets in the centre of Portlaoise town,” added Mr Mulholland.
Meanwhile, Mr Mulholland also added that preparatory work has commenced on compiling the 2019/2020 Register of Electors.