School hit by computer theft

A Portlaoise school is appealing to the public to help find a computer which was stolen over the June Bank Holiday weekend and which is invaluable resource to pupils.

A Portlaoise school is appealing to the public to help find a computer which was stolen over the June Bank Holiday weekend and which is invaluable resource to pupils.

When teacher Valerie Breslin, walked into her prefab classroom at Maryborough National School on Tuesday morning, June 4 she noticed that her school laptop computer was missing from its usual spot.

Nothing else was missing but on further investigation she found that an emergency exit door had been forced in with a crowbar.

Ms Breslin soon released that the four year old Toshiba model computer had been stolen. Even though the model is worth just €40 on the second hand market, the computer was invaluable to the school.

Ms Breslin says it stored school photos, materials and programmes which will be costly to replace.

“It was not really the laptop itself but the content that is lost and it is probably wiped away. The computer was four years old and I’cant imagine the theives would get alot for it but it was invaluable to the school and we had a lot of educational software on it that we don’t have copies of so there is quite a bit of cost to the school to replace that. One programme on it is €350 - it is more expensive than a laptop,” she said.

Ms Breslin said the gardai had avised that there is little chance of getting the laptop back.

She said more items could have been taken had the prefab to the rear of the Stradbally Road school not been alarmed.

“They took a prefab to the emergency exit of th eprefab and prised it open. We think that they didn’t realise that the prefab was alarmed so as soon as the alarm went off I think that they grabbed the first thing they could they could get their hands. There was no other damage thankfully they didn’t touch anything else in the classroom,” she said.

The theft is a sad end to a historic era for Maryborough NS which opened in 1897. Next September, teachers and pupils will move to a new home off the Timahoe Road.

Ms Breslin appealed to anybody in Portlaoise who may be able to help in recovering the computer. Ms Breslin said she had already checked the internet and found that the computer was trading for just €40