The closure of Cistercian College Roscrea has been stalled as a result of a passionate campaign by parents and past pupils.
Following the revelation that the Cistercian order was to close the boarding school due to financial pressures, a ‘Save CCR’ group has formed with the intention of sourcing funding for the school’s future.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic, campaign leader Ronnie Culliton, a past pupil and parent to a current student, said the first gathering of Roscrea’s supporters in Birr, Co. Offaly last week had been “very enthusiastic”.
“We had 350 people in attendance,” Mr Culliton explained, “and it was an entirely positive meeting. Parents are desperately keen to make this work.”
What that involves, he explained, is finding the source of a surety that means “the future of the college is assured”.
Acknowledging that this could be a major challenge, Mr Culltion said that supporters “are now working to spread the word among past men”.
He added that parents remained entirely open to a changed model for Roscrea upon which any future funding might rest, but, a point he emphasised, “parents do not want to see a change to the Catholic ethos of the school”.
For his part, in a letter to parents responding to the “heartwarming expressions of support” for an alternative to closure, Roscrea’s Abbot Richard Purcell wrote that “in recognition of this no further action will be taken until March 17, 2017 pending engagement with the group to be formed among parents and past pupils to explore possible viable proposals for the future of the college”.
And while not seeking to offer “any false hope”, Dom Richard added his commitment “to give full consideration” to such a proposal.
The Save CCR campaign now has a Facebook presence and an email for all contact at firstname.lastname@example.org