Retired principal Bryan O’ Reilly.
Scoil Mhuire Junior School in Newbridge is getting ready to celebrate the retirement of principal Bryan O’ Reilly after two decades of service. A series of events are planned to mark this occasion on December 8, including a special Mass of Thanksgiving in Cill Mhuire, Ballymany.
On October 1 1997, Bryan O’ Reilly took over the principalship from Mrs Nan Carey. Like many other schools, Scoil Mhuire has expanded to accommodate the needs of a rapidly diverse and expanding pupil population.
The school now welcomes over 90 pupils whose families come from Poland, Slovakia, Algeria, China, Russia, The Philippines, Nigeria, Latvia, Croatia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Romania as well as Ireland. A €2.2m extension is currently underway — a shared co-operative vision devised by Bryan with his colleague, Gerry King, Principal of the adjacent Scoil Mhuire Senior.
On the national stage, Bryan was the chairperson of key committees involved in the formation of the 1999 Primary School Curriculum, described by John Boyle, President of the Irish National Teachers Association as the “best Curriculum for Primary Education in the world”.
In a statement, John Boyle thanked Bryan for the significant contribution he has made. His work as school principal, compounded by his influence at national level has left “an indelible mark on generations of children” according to Mr Boyle. Chairperson of the Board of Management Eileen Hall said; “In leaving, Bryan has left a fine legacy. We are sad and sorry to see him go. Over the years, together with his staff, he has created a learning centre of excellence. Children were encouraged to become their best selves. He fostered a love of learning and a caring and safe environment for those in his charge.
“No stone was left un-turned in sourcing the very best for his young pupils and staff. His leadership, enthusiasm, diligence and attention to detail are but a few of his many qualities. There is no doubt that this man loved and enjoyed his job. He knew all 425 of his pupils by name and by need,” she said, “As a board member he was always fair, decisive and very hard working. We will miss his well-informed and intelligent contributions which he delivered with meticulous detail. We wish him good health and happiness. We thank him for all the years given with a willing heart to the school at large”.