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St Francis pupils in line for national award

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By Michelle Crean

St Francis Special School has been named one of the County Winners in the prestigious 'Someone Like Me' national art competition.

Scoil Naisiúnta Naomh Eirc near Ardfert and St Francis Special School were named Junior and Senior County Winners respectively of the prestigious national art competition. They'll now join over 40 other schools to compete for the much sought-after national title at an online national awards ceremony on Thursday next, February 3.

Senior County Winners, St Francis Special School in Beaufort, submitted a beautifully painted art piece of an inclusive playground where everyone plays together with purpose built swings, roundabouts and interactive equipment that allows all abilities join in the fun. It was created by teacher Bernadette O'Neill and pupils Jack Leane and John Anthony O'Brien, who are both aged 13.

'Someone Like Me', which is organised by the National Disability Authority, attracted more than 1,800 entries from national schools across the length and breadth of the country. The competition has been designed to be a national celebration of the things that unite children of all abilities and, over its six-year history, more than 8,000 children have taken part, creating a tangible contribution to developing more positive attitudes towards persons with disabilities.

During the last school term of 2021 teachers and their pupils right across Ireland worked through special lesson plans which challenged them to respond artistically and creatively to the theme of 'Someone Like Me', while, at the same time, appreciating and respecting similarities and differences in people.

The judges were particularly impressed with the submissions from pupils and teachers at Scoil Naisiúnta Naomh Eirc and St Francis Special School, selecting them as County Winners based on their insightful and inspirational responses to the theme.

Congratulating both schools, Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD said that she was hugely encouraged by the growing interest in the competition which is helping to develop a shared understanding of how we should treat others in a caring, sensitive and inclusive way, and promoting a sense of belonging and connectedness.

“I am so impressed by the standard of entry and the obvious thought that has gone into each creative submission. Once again, our primary school teachers and pupils have shown their commitment to putting ‘ability’ under the spotlight helping to build a more inclusive society.”

The competition, which offers a range of prizes up to the value of €750, was open to all primary school pupils from junior infants to sixth class and more than 1,800 entries were received from individual pupils, class groups and whole schools right across Ireland. Entries ranged from posters and collages to large sculptural installations and multi-media pieces.

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Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

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Over 30 members, past and present, gathered last Tuesday in The Dromhall Hotel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Killarney Toastmasters club.

Several founder members were present including Frank O’Sullivan and Bernadette Noonan, who are still current members of the club.
Members embrace the core values of Toastmasters International which are “respect, integrity, service and excellence”.
This year Killarney Toastmasters welcomed eight new members of various nationalities, who have brought many talents with them to this international club.
Outgoing president Anthony Walsh said: “I am heartened by the progress of new members and, following the success of the current year, I am looking forward to a bright future for the club.”
Anthony passed the chain of office on to incoming President Ann Hannan, who is very excited about leading the club in the year that Toastmasters International celebrates its 100th Anniversary.

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Listowel Bypass has fully opened to traffic

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The new N69 Listowel Bypass has fully opened to traffic for the first time this afternoon.

The road development consists of the realignment of a section of the N69 and is approximately 6km in length.

The €61m scheme includes approximately 4km of a new single carriageway and approximately 2.5km of online improvements to the existing R533 (John B Keane Road) with enhanced pedestrian and cycle facilities. The project includes three roundabouts and associated realignment of local roads. There was also a considerable body of offline work and associated works carried out.

Completed by contractors, Wills Brothers, who commenced construction in February 2022, the new bypass will be officially opened in due course.

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