SALESIAN College of Horticulture in Warrenstown, County Meath, is to close at the end of the current academic year.
Staff at the college, which was opened in 1923, were informed of the decision by the board of management at a meeting yesterday afternoon.
The decision to close the college was taken after lengthy discussion and consultation between the Trustees and Teagasc.
A joint statement noted that Teagasc policy is to concentrate future capital investments in fewer colleges and the college trustees are in no position to provide the enormous capital investment and ongoing maintenance to run Warrenstown as a private enterprise
Horticulture courses currently on offer in Warrenstown will be amalgamated with the courses offered by Teagasc at the dual campus at the College of Amenity Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin and at Teagasc Kinsealy.
“Teagasc will take responsibility for the staff and students from Warrenstown. Students will be able to continue to receive the high level of education they currently receive under the new arrangements.
“Teagasc will be investing €2.5 million in new classrooms and new facilities to create a larger state of the art college at the National Botanic Gardens to accommodate students from the start of the next academic year.
“This should ensure the minimum disruption to the education of the 118 full-time and 116 part-time students currently located at Warrenstown,” the statement explained.
Warrenstown and the National Botanic Gardens currently offer courses in conjunction with the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown. Students relocating will, therefore, be able to continue with their higher level courses.
Director of Education and Training in Teagasc Donal Carey paid tribute to the lasting educational legacy that the Salesian order and the staff at Warrenstown College have left, not just in the horticulture sector, but also in the agriculture sector and in wider rural Ireland.
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