Cistercian College in Roscrea is to remain open against the odds after the trustees of the historic boarding school voted in favour of a rescue package put together by parents and past-pupils.
decision to reverse last month’s closure decision was made by the
Cistercian Order, led by Abbot Dom Richard Purcell, after an intensive
campaign led by a specially-formed action group which concentrated on
coming up with funding to plug an operating shortfall as well as new
ideas to boost pupil numbers.
The Co Offaly boarding school
will, from September, be accepting day-boarders (who will go home every
night) and five-day boarders for the first time in its 112
While a suggestion from some quarters to
enrol girls has not yet been acted upon, it’s likely that this will
happen in the years to come.
The announcement of the
Cistercians’ decision was made to students on Thursday morning before
they broke up for St Patrick’s weekend. It followed a meeting on Tuesday
night between the Save CCR committee and the order, along with
continuous consultation with the Abbot in recent weeks.
is one of the most joyous days in the history of Cistercian College,”
Dom Richard Purcell said in a statement on Thursday. “We have witnessed a
small miracle over the past four weeks.”
€1.5 million has been pledged by parents and past-pupils to cover the
fee-paying school’s operating shortfall and help it become financially
independent into the future.
“We have been truly
overwhelmed by people’s generosity which has ultimately resulted in
ensuring the financial viability of the college in the immediate term,”
the Abbot said.
“None of this would have been possible
without the incredible efforts of the entire Cistercian College
community including the staff, the students and their families and the
many thousands of past pupils. We are particularly grateful to CCR
Action Group, chaired by Ronnie Culliton, for its unwavering commitment
to keeping the college open.”
Past pupil and current parent
Ronnie Culliton said all involved are looking forward “with great
enthusiasm” to the future. “This is a wonderful place for young men to
be educated, play sport, develop musical talents and grow friendships
that will last a lifetime.”
The Abbot announced on February
17 that, because of a 45pc drop in student numbers in recent years and
the consequent financial unsustainability, the school at Mount St Joseph
Abbey would close within the next two years.
first years had registered, by that time, for enrolment in the renowned
boarding school next September but the closure announcement caused
“heartbreak” among existing students, according to parents.
the campaign to keep the school open began, up to 20 new prospective
boarders and 40 prospective day-students have registered an interest in
enrolling for the next academic year, with up to 200 students expected
to be on the roll in September.
A new board of management is to be appointed in “due course,” to the college.
Roscrea college has among its alumni former taoiseach Brian Cowen and
his brother Barry Cowen TD, former tánaiste Dick Spring, former minister
David Andrews and champion racehorse trainer Willie Mullins.