Brollagh survival buoyed by massive show of support

Former St. Mary's principal Gerry Regan addresses the large crowd at the meeting in Brollagh

Former St. Mary’s principal Gerry Regan addresses the large crowd at the meeting in Brollagh

HUNDREDS packed into St Mary’s High School, Brollagh sending out a defiant message of opposition in the face of possible closure.

The sheer number of people at the public meeting meant that many spilled out both doors in the gym into corridors as the community rallied round their school and responded to the appeal for support.


At the public meeting the future of post-primary education in the area was discussed as well as the plans for greater cross-border co-operation with schools in Donegal to help retain education in North West Fermanagh.

Among the speakers on the night were Canon Lonergan, the local retired parish priest and of one of the people who ensured St Mary’s was originally built.

He opened his emotional speech by saying:  “It would break my heart if this school were to close.” He went on further to plea with the CCMS to listen to the people.

Francis Shaw a well known athletics coach and  teacher at St Michael’s College, Enniskillen delivered a rousing and passionate speech directed at political representatives present and those not present. He said it was time for elected representatives to do what they were elected to do and stop letting people down.

Other speakers included former principal of the school Gerry Reagan who delivered another emotional speech on an issue dear to his heart.

Alliance Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn was another to express his views on the possible closure. He raised a collective smile and laugh from the crowd as he described his journey to Belleek.

He explained that he thought getting to Enniskillen wasn’t a major ordeal but travelling further on to Belleek was something else entirely. He said that for children to be expected to make that journey was shocking and expressed his deeply held belief that the community of both sides were right to stand together and fight .


There were also speeches from SDLP South Down MLA Sean Rogers, Sinn Fein MLAs Michelle Gildernew and Phil Flanagan along with local Independent councillor Bernice Swift.

Concerns were also raised by parents. One parent suggested that if CCMS were  to continue with their proposal to close the school the should no longer be the school’s managing authority.

Chair of the North West Education Action Group Theresa Leonard was delighted with the turnout and thanked the community for answering the call for support.

“It was a great boost, because at the end of the day what we’re doing needs to be backed up by the community.

“We had people in their 80s right down to children in school, we had retired people, working people, politicians, it was great.”
After Theresa had welcomed everyone to the meeting she asked that those in attendance there to support post primary education in North West Fermanagh to stand up and all did. She then asked those who were willing to do something to help to put their hand up. “Everybody that I could see put their hands up,” remarked Theresa.
She added: “We are fighting for education in North West Fermanagh and we all want to keep it here.”

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