There was a small protest by a group of around two dozen demonstraors from the Monaghan Anti-Water Tax group as the Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD arrived to open officially the Monaghan Educational Campus. It was constructed on the site of the former army barracks at Knockaconny, which was decommissioned in 2009. Owing to the protest, the newly installed plaque at the entrance gates was not unveiled by Mr Kenny, as originally planned.
The new campus opened its doors in 2013 and was the brainchild of the Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board under the leadership of Martin O’Brien. It includes two Irish language schools, Gaelscoil Ultain for primary level and Coláiste Oiriall for secondary level. It also houses a gym, named in honour of Barry McGuigan, sports facilities, the purpose-built Garage Theatre, replacing the small and cramped premises at the old St Davnet’s Hospital, and a building for the Monaghan Institute.
Mr Kenny was shown an audiovisual presentation about how the campus had been developed since his previous visit in October 2011, when construction was starting. On that occasion the Taoiseach described it as a brilliant concept and a great decision for the people of County Monaghan.
The campus was officially blessed in an ecumenical service that included the two Bishops of Clogher, Dr Liam MacDaid and Most Reverent John McDowell, along with Monaghan Presbytery Moderator Reverend Ronnie Agnew and Methodist District Superintendent Reverend Ken Robinson from Portadown (pictured saying a prayer).
Today was an even bigger day for County Monaghan as it coincided with an announcement by local company Combilift that it was moving to new premises beside the Monaghan by-pass and in a €40 million investment creating 200 new jobs over the next five years at what will be its global headquarters. Mr Kenny visited the plant and said the investment would make a profound difference to the local economy and the national export economy.