Former pupils welcome rescue of Cistercian College, Roscrea
School to remain open after trustees vote for €1.5m package organised by action group
Trainer Willie Mullins: “There was a great will, and it’s found a way.” Photograph: David Davies/PA
Former taoiseach Brian Cowen: “The first hurdle has been overcome.” Photograph: Eric Luke
Former tánaiste Dick Spring: “The school was a sportsman’s paradise.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
“That’s great” was the reaction from the otherwise occupied champion trainer when told the news of the decision to keep Cistercian College, Roscrea (CCR), open.
Speaking on Thursday from Cheltenham shortly before Yorkhill gave him his first winner of this year’s festival, Mr Mullins said it was a tribute to the enthusiasm and hard work of past pupils, parents and staff.
“It has paid off,” he said. “There was a great will, and it’s found a way. A lot of people have pulled together, making various commitments. I don’t know the ins and outs, but I know there’s been a lot of work going on in the background and I’ve been kept informed. I’m delighted.”
The trainer said he may not have been the most academic of students but the college “catered for a lot of different aspects of students growing up”.
“I’m glad to see that that’s happening, that the initial response is such that there’s work ongoing to put it on a more sustainable footing,” the former taoiseach said. “The past pupils’ union has been very active in trying to come up with some solutions. There’s a bit of the road to go yet, but at least the first hurdle has been overcome.
“I wasn’t directly involved [in the campaign], but I was contacted and offered my support.”
Mr Cowen said he had “good memories” of the college.
“I’m very pleased with the work done by the CCR action group. They seem to have undertaken huge work over the last number of weeks and it looks like it has the support of the monks,” the former tánaiste said. “I look forward to seeing what the new school will look like. It’s obviously going to be a big change, but it could be very exciting.”
He has happy memories from his time there in the 1960s.
“It was a sportsman’s paradise between 1963 and 1968, and I enjoyed every day of it,” he said.