HomeNewsTaoiseach's Speeches

Speech by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, T.D., Turning of the sod of the new school building for Holy Family School, Cootehill, County Cavan, Friday, 12 October 2018


Issued by the Government Press Office
12 October 2018

Check against delivery

A dhaoine uaisle;
A dhaltaí.
Dia is Muire daoibh go léir.

‘Most people see what is, and never see what can be’.
Albert Einstein said that.

When he was at school people underestimated him, they never believed in what he could be. For some of our citizens the world can look different. It can be frustrating. It can be overwhelming.

So sometimes we need look at the world differently from the way we have in the past and challenge conventional wisdom. We have to see what can be, and then try and make it a reality.

It’s what this school is all about and it’s why I’m delighted to be here today to turn the sod on this new building.
This is a profound statement about what we can be, not how others see us.

I want to thank Rachel and Marian Foy and Fr. Owen and the patron and trustees for the kind invitation to be here with you today. This is a very special day for all of you, and Minister Heather Humphreys, Senator O’Reilly and I are honoured to be able to spend it with you.

I would also like to give a special mention to Dr. Rory O’Hanlon, like me a doctor and a former Minister for Health, who has been a champion of this school throughout his career. I know he can’t be with us today, but we thank him and wish him well.

The Government’s vision is one in which our school system empowers all of our children - all of our young people, including those with special needs - to progress, to reach their full potential, and to become full members of our society.

That’s also the vision of New Holy Cross and it’s one you should be proud of.

For too long in the past society placed obstacles in the path of many of our citizens, obstacles that prevented them reaching their potential. They were unable to get an education, or be part of their community, or part of the work force. In doing so they were effectively cast into the margins.

No more.

The Government’s investment of €13 million in this new school building is a statement that we believe in your work and we believe in all of you who study here.

In this week’s Budget we announced an investment of almost €11 billion in Education and that reflects our changing demographics and our belief in the importance of education in changing lives.

As part of that investment, we will create 1,300 new posts in schools next year.

Next year we are investing over €1.8 billion in helping children with special educational needs reach their potential, and this means we will be able to bring the number of Special Needs Assistants to a record high of almost 16,000.

The American writer Joan Ryan has said that parenthood is about understanding that your child is exactly the person they are supposed to be.

And that, if you’re lucky, your child will be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be. It doesn’t matter whether you are a child, a teacher, a parent, or a friend, we are all students together. And we are all learning together.

So it gives me great pleasure to turn the sod today.

I wish you all every success, and I hope you will invite me back to see you again and celebrate your achievements with you.

Guím rath mór ar obair na scoile agus ar obair an chomhphobail.

Thank you.