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

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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.”

BIG MOVE

“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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Pedestrianisation poll: Our readers have their say

By Sean Moriarty The question of pedestrianisation in the town centre has divided Killarney for years but a survey by the Killarney Advertiser this week shows the town slightly more in favour of it. A total of 37.14 percent of respondents want the pedestrianisation of Plunkett St to remain as it is – closed to […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The question of pedestrianisation in the town centre has divided Killarney for years but a survey by the Killarney Advertiser this week shows the town slightly more in favour of it.

A total of 37.14 percent of respondents want the pedestrianisation of Plunkett St to remain as it is – closed to traffic on a permanent basis while 24.76 want it to go back to its pre-pandemic arrangement where the street was only closed to vehicular traffic between 7pm and 7am each night.

An additional 34.29 percent want to see an increase in pedestrianisation in town centre by extending the Main St arrangement that was in place during the summer. In that period the town’s main thoroughfare was closed to traffic, day and night, during the weekend.

Only 20 percent of the respondents want to abolish pedestrianisation altogether, but that is still a significant number ensuring that this debate will linger on for a long time yet.

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National television exposure for local campaign

By Michelle Crean A local group hosting a life-saving information day tomorrow (Saturday) are to receive huge exposure on national TV after a crew came down to interview them about their campaign. Members of Killarney Cardiac Response Unit (KCRU) – who are planning a ‘Restart a Heart Day’ to raise awareness about life-saving techniques – […]

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By Michelle Crean

A local group hosting a life-saving information day tomorrow (Saturday) are to receive huge exposure on national TV after a crew came down to interview them about their campaign.

Members of Killarney Cardiac Response Unit (KCRU) – who are planning a ‘Restart a Heart Day’ to raise awareness about life-saving techniques – invited journalist Paul Byrne and Virgin Media TV crew to town this week.

It’s hoped their campaign will be broadcast tonight (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday).

The KCRU event takes place tomorrow in ANAM Arts and Cultural Centre between 10.30am and 4pm as part of the European Restart a Heart Day. It’ll include CPR demos, public information, an art display, a video launch w️ith many prizes to be won.

“The crew interviewed Community Responder Helen Duggan who explained the events taking place on Saturday,” Kevin O’Leary from KCRU told the Killarney Advertiser.

“European Restart a Heart Day was founded with the support of the European parliament and takes place on October 16 every year. We’re spreading the message that 20 minutes of your time could make all the difference saving a life.”

In 2021, the focus of the event is on survivors with the hashtag #CPRSavedMyLife.

“With this campaign we want to create awareness that everyone can learn CPR and facilitate BLS courses in schools and public locations.”

He said they hope that Kerry TDs Danny Healy-Rae, Brendan Griffin and Minister for Education Norma Foley will be in attendance throughout the day, and the public are invited to attend.

“Find out how simple actions can save lives. Prizes include a three day First Aid course valued at €300, two First Aid kits, and a voucher for a local business.”

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