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Marie Meets: Colm says farewell to The Mon as he begins new role




The Presentation Monastery Primary School was an exciting place to be last week as Minister for Education, Norma Foley officially opened the brand new extension at the school complete with multi-sensory room, two new special needs rooms, a vibrant spacious hall and an outdoor classroom dedicated to the memory of the very popular and much loved Dott Henggeler, who represented Washington in 2011 at the Rose of Tralee.

I thought to myself as I walked through the vibrant, revamped building what a wonderful achievement and a fantastic note to go out on for Principal Colm Ó Súilleabháin, who was completing his last week at The Mon before taking up his new role as Principal at St Oliver's NS in Ballycasheen. It really is a work of art, so bright and spacious.

“Minister Foley’s visit was a great high for us here at The Mon. She was a very impressive lady, speaking without the aid of notes and she was extremely knowledgeable of the school and its history. It was an honour to have her officially open the new building,” Colm said.

“I am Principal at The Mon for 13 years now Marie and I loved every day of it. I was working at Tralee CBS under Denis Coleman and thought to apply for the position to gain interview experience. I was absolutely thrilled to get the position, I really was. We are young staff, a close knit family who have grown up together here at The Mon. We have celebrated many events together down through the years. Sure enough the Principal is the person you think to go to as the higher point of contact but I have been blessed with a fantastic team behind me from the pupils to the parents, the Board of Management, the teachers and all the staff. It was the togetherness and drive of all of these people that made the extension at The Mon possible. In some ways the pandemic helped. Our community fundraiser ‘The MONster Raffle’ gave focus and we worked together as a unit to make it happen. And together we did it, to the tune of €40,000. It really is amazing. Every donation counted, from the local businesses, to past pupils, pensioners, including generous donations from abroad would you believe? We are very grateful to everyone who donated to the raffle.”


“So tell me about the big move Colm. Are you excited about it?” I asked. “I am hugely excited Marie. When the position at St Oliver’s arose, I didn’t give it a great amount of thought but after a friend suggested I go for it I let the notion sit with me and a few days later submitted my application,” Colm explained. Nothing like a fresh pair of eyes and the encouragement and good intentions of a close friend to get the ball rolling I thought. Everyone should have one of those.

“I was absolutely thrilled to get the job and the community have been so kind to me. I am very grateful to Principal Rory D’Arcy and Vice Principal Tim Horgan at St Oliver's NS for all their time, support and advice. Many within the community have stopped me in the street to wish me well, so much so that my daughter asked if I now had celebrity status,” Colm laughed. At this point I realised I didn’t know too much about Colm and his family. “My wife is Breda and I have two boys and two girls all attending Gaelscoil Faithleann Marie - Aodhagán (11), Orlaith (9), Muireann (7) and Colm Óg (5).

“We have great history at The Mon and I have learned so much through the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society. In 2013 it was the 175th anniversary of the Presentation Brothers of Education and we conducted a fancy dress parade in full costume through the town of Killarney finishing up at the Arbutus Hotel where the first Monastery Primary School was established in the upstairs building. There is so much history attached to this school, and now with the new building there is a bright and wonderful future for all attending and for future generations of The Mon,” Colm concluded.

And an equally great future for Mr Ó Súilleabháin at St Oliver’s I thought. On my way out I noticed the corridors had also been painted to tie in with the new ‘good vibe’ theme that I got at The Presentation Monastery Primary School.

Thank you for having me Principal Colm Ó Súilleabháin and the very best of luck for your new position as Principal at St Oliver’s NS next week.

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Developing St Finan’s “cost prohibitive” – Council

Converting the idle St Finan’s hospital into social housing is cost-prohibitive according to Kerry County council officials. The historic building has been lying idle since it closed in September 2012. […]




Converting the idle St Finan’s hospital into social housing is cost-prohibitive according to Kerry County council officials.

The historic building has been lying idle since it closed in September 2012.

The hospital and adjoining lands are up for sale by the Health Service Executive (HSE) since then.

So far no realistic offer has been made on the site despite suggestions that it could be used for social housing, a catering college and a hotel.

Each year the building, which was built in the 1850s, falls into further disrepair.

There were fresh calls again this week as local councillors called for some sort of action to redevelop the site that is fast becoming an eyesore.

At last Friday’s Killarney Municipal District meeting councillors called for action at the site .

Mayor Brendan Cronin wants the building’s protected status to be removed or at least reduced to speed up potential development work which ties in with Cllr Marie Moloney’s idea that the old hospital could be converted into apartments or flats.

Cllr John O’Donoghue wants the HSE to find a way to hand over the property to Kerry County Council either by way of reduced payment or an intra-government agency ownership change.

A Kerry County Council official told the meeting that any works to potentially convert the old hospital into social housing “would be cost prohibitive.”


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Eight month wait for a driving test in Killarney

A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at […]




A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney

The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at eight months.

Cllr John O’Donoghue raised the issue at Monday’s full meeting of Kerry County Council.

He proposed that driving instructors should be employed to carry out the final test to reduce the current backlog.

At Monday’s meeting he asked that hat Kerry County Council would write to the Minister for Transport to ask him to consider giving driving instructors temporary powers to issue a temporary Driving Licence/Certificate of Competence to those on the waiting list for tests.

“The wait is currently far too long and the system is in danger of becoming completely overwhelmed,” he said.

“The huge waiting list for young drivers is well documented at this stage. In a case I am familiar with, a young person passed their theory test in January 2022 and he immediately applied for his mandatory 12 driving lessons. When these were completed, he applied for his driving test on the 2nd of December 2022. Some weeks ago, he still had not received an application to apply for his driving test. This wait is placing him and his family under considerable extra cost and stress which is completely unacceptable.”

In the course of his research into the matter Cllr O’Donoghue discovered that the next available date for a driving test in Killarney is May 25, 2024, while Tralee is June 3 2024.

“Bear in mind, these are only the dates on which you receive an invitation to book your test, the test itself will then be an estimated three to five weeks later.

“This is an appalling situation and one which needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency. I am proposing that driving instructors, which presumably are fully trained up on the rules of the road, be granted temporary powers to be allowed to issue temporary driving licences to young people. When the waiting list time has been reduced, I would still propose that these people sit the test as usual, but the current pressure needs to be alleviated as soon as possible. There is precedent as I believe that in the 1970s, a cohort in this country were issued driving licences without having sat a test as the wait time for the test was too long.”


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