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Bruff in shock at earlier closure of school By Rebekah Commane

ARD Scoil Mhuire secondary school in Bruff is to close earlier than the scheduled date of 2013, possibly within the next school year, it has been revealed to the Limerick Post. Despite recent reports claiming that the schools parents will continue efforts to keep it open, a spokesperson for the action committee has said there is no doubt that the end is nigh. Councillor James Heffernan, who teaches in Kilmallock secondary school, and whose sister is a Special Needs Assistant in Ard Scoil Mhuire, says that it is likely that it will close within the next year. “The school will be closed much sooner than 2013, maybe in the next year”, Cllr Heffernan told the Limerick Post. However, secretary of

the school’s action committee, Brian Stokes, said that he expects it to be closed in two years. “The closing date was initially set at 2013 but it will be closed in the next two years”, he told this

newspaper. He added that a minimum of 18 pupils needed to have been enrolled to begin first year in September, but that this target had not been met, meaning no new students will begin at the school in September. “The committee put two proposals together - the first was a Community Lay Trust and in the second we sought support from the diocese of Limerick and provided them with a detailed submission. Neither of the two exhaustive models succeeded”. Brian said that to attract a new patron, extensive refurbishment and rebuilding would need to be done on the school, costing €2.5 to €3 million, and the funding was not there for such a project. “We have examined all options and it’s not viable. The board of management is speaking with parents about alternative arrangements for their children”. When asked, Brian said there was no hope of the

school reopening when the country’s economic situation improves, as “the classrooms will continue to deteriorate and there are three other schools in the area; Kilmallock, Hospital and Croom”. Cllr Heffernan said he had put questions to the Dáil regarding the school, but had been given a “noncommittal” response

from the then Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe. “The Minister remained tight-lipped and said that the local action group were looking into it. The committee was thrown in at the deep end and did as much as they could do. “It’s a terrible shame. From a personal point of view I have a sister working there. “It’s one of the only

things that brings people to shop in Bruff. It will be a bus stop town when the school closes. “Parents weren’t given a full picture of what was happening and were given false hope. They should have been better prepared. If the FCJ sisters had sat down with the local people earlier, a lot of this could have been avoided”.

Saturday 29 May 2010 • LIMERICK POST

Vaccine programme for girls not before time COMMENTING on the Health Minister, Mary Harney’s go-ahead for the HPV vaccination programme, to protect girls from cervical cancer, Deputy Michael Noonan (a former Minister for Health) says it “is better late than never”. He described as appalling minister Harney’s “on again, off again attitude to the programme and her attempts to explain the delay in terms of cost savings, when only small amounts of money are involved. The HSE has confirmed that all girls who are now in first year of secondary school and girls who are starting first year in September will be offered the HPV vaccine. The vaccine will, in the most part, be given to girls in second level schools by immunisation teams, with some being invited to special clinics. The deputy said that the roll out of the programme will allay the fears of parents that their daughters could get cervical cancer in their early teens and that it could mature in adulthood with fatal consequences. “I strongly encourage parents to ensure that their daughters avail of this scheme as each year in this country, about 250 women get cervical cancer, and 80 women die from it. The vaccine has been shown to be safe and 60 million doses have already been given worldwide. “The vaccine gives protection to seven out of 10 girls vaccinated, but as there is a 30% failure rate, it is very important that all girls have regular smear tests when they are adults”.

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