Pat Somers firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @laoisnews
Monsignor John Byrne is the Leinster Express/Midlands Park Hotel/Gerry Browne Jewellers Person of the Month for August.
Monsignor Byrne has been chosen for his long standing campaign and committment to getting new schools built in Portlaoise.
That finally came to fruition this year with the opening of the Holy Family School campus at Aghnaharna, and Scoil Bhride in Knockmay.
The Holy Family Junior and Senior Schools comprise 24-classrooms and have an enrolment of 1,400 pupils. Scoil Bhride in Knocmkay has 763 pupils and 32 classrooms.
“Both represent a significant advance in educational infrastructure in Portlaoise,” said Monsignor Byrne.
“For the first time in 40 years this September, no children in Portlaoise are in prefabs.
“Not only that, but both schools are state of the art facilities.
“We are very grateful to the people of Portlaoise and to the Presentation Sisters for letting us buy the land at Aghnaharna.
“It was a long journey with many disappointments and it took over 15 years,” noted Msgr Byrne.
“The achievement of these new schools was long and arduous and I had hoped to have them in place much sooner.
“Over the years I met many fine people in the Department of Education.
“I also want to note the work of the design teams and Jackie Carroll of McCarthy O'Hora architects and Gerry Egan of Moloney O'Beirne architects.
“It is extremely heartening to see children enjoying the facilities in the new schools,” he added.