The cork was popped on a bottle purchased 17 years ago by Mary Joe Fitzgerald when she helped kickstart a major campaign to secure a new secondary school for Buttevant.
Sadly, she died last January and did not get to witness the official sod-turning yesterday for the planned new €6.5m Coláiste Mhuire. But her daughter, Lisa kept her mother’s promise and popped open the bottle to celebrate the beginning of the project.
“I know she is looking down and would be delighted to see this. I’m just so sad that she wasn’t here in person to witness it. She loved to see progress and was a real supporter of the town,” Lisa said.
She’s now taken over the running of her mother’s bar, The Welcome Inn with partner Paudie O’Brien and two children Alex, four, and 18-month-old Pádraig who she hopes will one day attend the new school.
Junior Minister, Sean Sherlock performed the sod-turning ceremony for the school which will be managed by the Cork Education and Training Board (ETB). When the 4,384 sq metre school opens in September 2015, it will boast specialist lecture rooms, music and dance workshops, along with science laboratories, a multimedia learning laboratory, a library, prayer/meditation room, multi-sensory room, PE hall and fitness suite.
Cork ETB chief executive, Ted Owens said he was delighted construction had officially begun.
“The new school will further enhance the educational experience of the 325 students enrolled,” he said. School principal Donal O’Sullivan said: “The realisation of our new school campus, after many years of campaigning, is a dream come true for students, parents, staff and the surrounding communities of Buttevant.”