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03 Dec 2021

'Our children are equal citizens' - new principal of Laois special school

'Our children are equal citizens' - new principal of Laois special school

A new state of the art school building for almost 100 Laois children with learning disabilities is only what they deserve, their principal has said.

John Moran was appointed recently as principal of St Francis School in Laois, and with his pupils and staff will be moving into their brand new building in Portlaoise within weeks.

Speaking after the official handover of the keys by the Department of Education who funded the construction, he told the Leinster Express what it means to the children.

“We were all delighted to be handed over the keys to our new school last Thursday. It represents a milestone in the respect that our children deserve as equal citizens of our community.

“This is reflected in the aesthetically pleasing building that forms another landmark overlooking our town.

“The school is equipped with 12 classrooms, an art and home economics room, two therapy rooms, canteen and state of the art gym hall.

“Outside we have a sensory space area as well as a sensory garden. We also have designated rest spaces and an astroturf pitch.

“We are now working flat out getting in furniture, interactive classroom screens, wifi and telephony. All going well, we should be in our new school by mid-June.

“I want to express our gratitude for all the best wishes we are receiving and to all the people who have generously given their time to help us with moving in our furniture and accessories to the building and preparing the classrooms,” the principal said.

Mr Moran gave his thanks also to the current and previous Boards of Managements, Parents Councils, past Principals, and the Department of Education Team.

“We are deeply grateful to our chairperson, Fr Paddy Byrne, for the lead role he has played in delivering us this splendid new school building,” he said.

The €12.3m project by MEIC was funded by the department as part of a two school project.

Work began in 2018 with demolition of St Paul's parish school on the Borris Road. Up to now St Francis School was in an old prefab (pictured below) on the Timahoe Road between a river and busy road. Parents had begun campaigning for a new school in 2015 backed by the parish, who offered their site of St Paul's to the department for the new building.

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