Senators promote healthy lifestyle at Monasterevin schools

Sen. Eamon Coughlan visiting St Paul's Secondary School in Monasterevin last week to celebrate their Active School's programme. Pictured are: Sen. John Whelan, Aaron Hoey, Daniel Allen,Sen Eamon Coughlan and Sean O Neill, Zoe Hannon,  Photo: Jimmy Fullam.
A visit from Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn may be in the pipeline for St. Paul’s Secondary School in Monasterevin, as talks continue over the transfer of a site for a new building.

A visit from Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn may be in the pipeline for St. Paul’s Secondary School in Monasterevin, as talks continue over the transfer of a site for a new building.

That’s according to Sen. John Whelan, who brought Sen. Eamon Coughlan to his hometown last Friday March 22 to deal with the lack of recreational and sport’s facilities as well as promoting healthy lifestyles.

The senators arrived at St. Paul’s Secondary School at around 10am where John Whelan, also a former Leinster Leader editor, recalled fond memories of being part of the first Leaving Cert class in 1978. However, another issue which has been on the agenda for more than ten years came to the fore.

“I have been working along with Jack Wall to try and bring to a close the whole saga of getting a new building for St. Paul’s Secondary School,” he said.

Sen. Whelan said a site had been identified but talks were at a sensitive stage. He pledged to work hard to ensure the project proceeds.

“I know the existing school is bursting at the seams and it had very modest facilities,” he said.

Following a press release issued by Deputy Sean Fleming earlier this month, the Moore Abbey estate was mooted as the proposed location of the site, however, this has not been confirmed.

Sen. Whelan pointed out that St. Peter’s National School, which he also attended when it was a CBS, had changed very little in terms of the infrastructure. He said the school had to contend with little space for recreation and sporting facilities. Despite these limitations, he noted the pupils were well on their way towards achieving the Active Flag.

He said the amalgamation of the two primary schools on a new site was something which was being looked at.

He said there were more facilities available in Monasterevin when he was growing up in St. Evin’s Park, than today.

“We had community games, Ros Glas started up, pitch and putt and a basketball court, but then the council came and built houses on it,” he said.

He explained the senators also met with a local group spearheaded by Ger Melia who are trying to build a recreational facility on a seven and a half site behind St. Evin’s Park. He said he would do whatever he could to help them achieve their goals.

St. Paul’s Principal, Brian Bergin said they had their fingers crossed the site talks would come to a successful outcome soon. He said there are over 300 students enrolled.

“We have no green areas. We have limited our intake to two first year classes. I have small classes taking place in my office at this time of the year because there is no space, because of exams the teachers often have to take the pupils in smaller groups,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Eamon Coughlan talked to the students about his career, his defeats, his victories and how they made him a better person. He also met with the Monasterevin Youth Group who carried out a survey to determine the needs of young people in the area. Up to 70 members of the running club then set off on a run, which was started by the legendary athlete.

“The visit went really well,” explained St. Peter’s National School teacher and Active Flag co-ordinator, John Cullen, “Eamon Coughlan spoke to the students about the importance of exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Then he spoke to the Active School’s committee and the second class pupils sang “Rockin all over the world” for him. We are working towards achieving the Active Flag, and he said when we get it, he would come back and launch it.”

The visitors dropped in to visit Sen. Whelan’s mother, Anne, who still lives in St. Evin’s Park, to top off the visit with a cup of tea.