Senator Aisling Dolan - Strong Voice, New Vision.

Ballinasloe Schools Welcome for Minister Josepha Madigan

November 21, 2023

Ballinasloe Schools Welcome for Minister Josepha Madigan

Senator Aisling Dolan welcomed Minister for Special Education and Inclusion, Minister Josepha Madigan to Ballinasloe on Friday 17th November,

The Ballinasloe-based Fine Gael Senator stated

“I’m delighted that Minister Madigan accepted my invitation to visit Ballinasloe and joined our school communities here to officially open new classrooms during her visit to our schools. I’ve consistently highlighted the serious challenges we face in terms of availability of primary school places for children in the growing Ballinasloe area and capital investment such as this is crucial. It was a pleasure to be present for the opening of two new classrooms in Creagh NS one of which caters for children with special educational needs and a new homeroom in Ardscoil Mhuire which also caters for students with special educational needs. Minister Madigan viewed progress of another two new classrooms at St Teresa’s Special School and also visited Garbally College. A particular word of thanks to Minister Madigan and her team in the Department of Education for these new classrooms for our children in Ballinasloe”

“Firstly, Principal Paul Walsh and Deputy Principal Colette Quinn together with Bishop of Clonfert & Galway Michael Duignan and Michael McGarrick from the board of trustees met Minister Josepha Madigan and gave a tour of Garbally College. So many years of tradition and excellence in the school especially for people all over the country who were boarders in the school.

“The Minster met young people with special needs at Aras and Seomra na mBuachaillí and also visited the school gym to see the boys playing badminton.

“Walking over to Ardscoil Mhuire, Principal Pauric Hanlon with Deputy Principal Lilian Hynes gave Minister Madigan a tour of the girls school and incredible to think the school is now 20 years old. Scoil Mhuire in Society St prior to the move was my own school. With a lot of excitement and thank you to the girls for the balloons to celebrate, the Minister opened the Special Needs class and planted a cherry blossom tree with young students in honour of the new class.

Senator Dolan continued

“I’m particularly pleased to have had the opportunity to discuss the proposed amalgamation of Garbally College and Ardscoil Mhuire with Minister Madigan and Principals Walsh and Hanlon. Both Ardscoil Mhuire and Garbally College have a teaching tradition over 100 years in Ballinasloe. After an in-depth public consultation and with support of students, parents and teaching staff a new school amalgamation is planned. Currently an application has been submitted to the Department of Education and I will continue to work with the Minister to organise a site survey/ technical team to come and visit the school. The Principals highlighted the need for investment in buildings and resources in a new school for over 1,000 students to Minister Madigan and Bishop Michael Duignan as a patron and in his role with CEIST (Catholic Education – An Irish Schools Trust) also supported this expansion”


Senator Aisling Dolan highlighted

“At Creagh National School, the children prepared posters with a lovely welcome for Minister Josepha Madigan. Thank you to each and every one who made it such a special day for Minister Madigan and to all the teaching staff and members of the parents association. A beautiful choir sang songs to welcome Minister Madigan inside the new classrooms and thank you to KSN project managers & McVey builders for immense efforts to have this new build ready for pupils. The chair of the Board of Management Frank Gallagher talked about the growth of the school and the importance for our local region. The Minister spoke about the leadership of Principal Áine Ní Bleahene Colleráin in managing one of the largest primary schools in the county with over 440 students. I worked with the Minister’s office and the Department of Education on the urgent need for funding and classrooms for Creagh NS. Minister Madigan and Bishop Michael Duignan officially opened two new classrooms which will give children much needed space in a new special needs class.”

“At St Teresa’s Special School, Principal Anita O’Reilly and Deputy Principal Geraldine Clarke with children, Special Needs Assistants, Board of Management and parents welcomed Minister Madigan waving flags and presented her with a lovely gift. This was Minister Madigan’s second visit to the school as Minister for Special Education and Inclusion and I have worked closely with the Minister to bring forward to the projects for now 2 builds of 4 classrooms in total. Principal O’Reilly spoke to the Minister about progressing the new school project on a 5 acre site close to the existing school. Also to thank the board of Ballinasloe Area Community Development (BACD) for supporting the school at the Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre lands for modular new classrooms.”

“I’d like to thank all the children, teaching staff and parents who took the time to welcome Minister Josepha Madigan to Ballinasloe. So many achievements for close to 1,000 primary school pupils and 1,000 post-primary students. Our town is growing and we need more capacity for our schools for special needs classes to help develop pupils’ academic, social, emotional and independent living skills. A particular work of thanks to Minister Madigan and her team in the Department of Education for new classrooms for our children in Ballinasloe. ”


Minister for Special Education and Inclusion, Josepha Madigan TD said:

“It was an absolute pleasure to visit Ballinasloe on the invitation of Senator Aisling Dolan. I was so impressed by the standard of teaching and learning, the dedication of all school staff and the real sense of warmth and welcome in my visit to Garbally College, Ardscoil Mhuire, Creagh National School and St. Teresa’s Special School. It is positive to see provision in Ballinasloe growing to meet the needs of all members of the community. Working in partnership with schools is vital to delivering a world class inclusive education system and it is wonderful to see that in action in these schools. I would like to thank the principals, teachers, SNAs and wider school community who offer such professional and dedicated support to our students.”