Parents Council and officials of St Paul’s at the opening with (left to right) Paul Beggy, Bronagh Gailey, PJ Flynn, Fr Eusebiu Tulbure, Bishop of Meath Tom Deenihan, Eileen McCaughey, principal, former principal Patricia Fahy, Fr Gerry McCormack, PP Kingscourt, Martin Griffin, dep principal, Mary O’Brien and Michael Cantwell.

Joyful occasion for St Paul’s school community as new €14m building is officially opened

Bishop Tom Deenihan officially opened St Paul’s Primary School's new €14 million building in Abbeylands last Thursday.

While the students and staff moved in last year, due to Covid restrictions, it was only officially opened by Most Reverend Deenihan last week.

It was a joyful occasion for the whole school community. The excitement was palpable among the students as they lined out on the avenue for the arrival Bishop Deenihan, accompanied by Fr Eusebiu Tulbure, the school chaplain. The bunting was up, the flags were flying, samba drums were beating and the bag pipes were playing as over 200 guests arrived to get a tour of their newly built, state of the art, 32 classroom school building.

The guests were made up of all the people who helped the school get the project over the line, from the contractors, Felix O’Hare, Oppermann Architects, the previous principal Mrs Patricia Fahy, past and previous boards of management, past and previous staff and past and previous parents’ association members.

Among those invited were the parents of 6th class children, fellow parish principals, as well as representatives from all the local sporting clubs, local politicians and Minister Damien English, service suppliers of the school and many others who support the school on a daily basis.

The new school building cost over €14 million and consists of 32 mainstream classrooms, a new Special Education Unit with two classrooms, SET rooms, a PE sports hall almost 400m2 in size, electric vehicle charging points, four basketball courts and a large playground. The installation of their new Astroturf Pitch over 7,000m2, by JNC Premier Pitches was completed in July of this year and is surrounded by a running track and a ball wall.

Bishop Deenihan blessed the school and unveiled the plaque, while previous principal, Mrs. Patricia Fahy, cut the ribbon. In his speech, the bishop thanked and congratulated the principal, Eileen McCaughey, and the entire staff for all their work. He attributed the high interest and enrolment in St Paul’s in the quality of the teaching and learning along with the extra-curricular activities and excellent facilities. He noted the growth in enrolment was a clear sign of the confidence and trust in Ms McCaughey and in the staff who are, without exception, dedicated, professional, generous and kind.

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Management, Mr PJ Finn, said that this wonderful new facility will become an integral part of the community and provide a well-rounded education to those that attend it.

The principal, Eileen McCaughey, paid tribute to the previous principal, Mrs Patricia Fahy, and the previous boards of management who were involved in the proposing, planning and designing of the new school in its early stages. "They had a vision for St Paul’s over the past two decades to help the school evolve and serve the current educational requirements of the area and for many generations to come.

"They fundraised in a variety of innovative ways over the years and this money has been used to install the new Astro Pitch and to purchase other resources needed. Their hard work and dedication has finally come to fruition," she said.

The guests were entertained by the students throughout the ceremony. The children from 1st class sang a song called ‘Together Again’ which was very fitting after two years of Covid and finally being able to gather again. Second classes sang ‘We are the Greatest’ and the guests were treated to a phenomenal solo piece from 5th class violinist, Caoímhe Lee. The finale piece comprised of 6th class students accompanied by the school’s violin orchestra, singing ‘Chosen Family’ which received a standing ovation. All the teachers involved in preparing the children and the school’s violin teacher, Ms. Jeanette Foy, were highly commended.