Minister gains insight to needs of Greenisland

Education Minister John O'Dowd with Carrickfergus College principal Hedley Webb and vice-principal Amanda Irvine. INCT 50-750-CON
Education Minister John O'Dowd with Carrickfergus College principal Hedley Webb and vice-principal Amanda Irvine. INCT 50-750-CON

Education Minister John O’Dowd has acknowledged that Greenisland Primary School would benefit from capital investment.

Speaking following a visit to the Upper Station Road location, Mr O’Dowd said it was his understanding the North Eastern and Education Library Board is “currently considering a formal minor works application for the school”.

A representative from the board was also present as the minister toured the premises, where the original building dates from 1938.

The minister added: “The current financial climate is, however, extremely constrained. I will continue to do all I can to maximise the funding available for education.

“The commitment of the staff and governors of the school is plain to see and I thank everyone today for making my visit a pleasant one.”

Pleased with how the visit had gone, Greenisland PS principal Liam McGuckin stressed all parties were working together, but given current restrictions with the public purse, it was likely be 18 months to two years before there is a major project.

Mr O’Dowd also enjoyed a seasonal production at the school.

“I received a very warm, festive welcome from the pupils and staff at Greenisland Primary School. Preparations are in progress for the children’s nativity play for parents and family members and I was privileged to get a sneak preview today,” he said.
Earlier Mr O’Dowd was at Carrickfergus College where he engaged with a group of the school’s top-performing pupils at GCSE and AS level last year.

“I very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet pupils and staff at Carrickfergus College.

“It is always encouraging to see at first hand the intelligence, enthusiasm and talent of our young people and today was no exception,” said the minister

“Pupils at this non-selective school, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, have consistently performed strongly in public exams in recent years. This is testament to their hard work and dedication and that of the school’s staff.

“I also note that the school received a good inspection last year, further proof of the good work going on there.”

Carrickfergus College principal Hedley Webb said he was “heartened” by the statement from the minister which is on the Department of Education website and that he wants to visit again for a walk about.