Cllr P.J. O’Hanlon (FF) has been appointed the new chair of the CMETB.

New chair of education board

She described it as a “sad day” handing back the chain of office, reflecting just how much Fine Gael’s Carmel Brady embraced and cherished the role as chair of Cavan-Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB).

From representing the organisation at key meetings with the department to welcoming the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, as he unveiled plan after plan to upgrade Cavan Institute facilities, she said: “It has been a wonderful year.”

Speaking at CMETB’s meeting at Monaghan’s Garage Theatre last week, Cllr Brady thanked both Chief Executive Fiona McGrath, her executive members, and her fellow board members for their support over the past 12 months.

“When I took up the chair, I soon learned the huge volume of work that goes on behind the scenes every day,” she said, adding that everything CMETB does is for the betterment of education across the two counties.

Ms McGrath thanked Cllr Brady for her willingness during her tenure, while Fianna Fáil’s Clifford Kelly said she had done a “terrific job” before nominating his party colleague P.J. O’Hanlon to succeed her.

“He tells it like it is,” said Cllr Kelly, his proposal seconded by Fine Gael’s Aiden Campbell who recognised his Monaghan council counterpart as a “proud Carrickmacross man, and a prouder Monaghan man”.

He recognised too how this was a “proud day” for Cllr O’Hanlon as he followed in the footsteps of his late mother Rosaleen (née Mooney), who served the organisation for over 29 years (1985-2014) and became the first female chairperson of Monaghan VEC from 1999 to 2004.

A member of Boards of Managements at Inver and Ballybay colleges, as well as to Largy in Clones, she was also elected chair of Monaghan Institute at its inaugural meeting in February 1993, a position she held for 15 years, and was an active member of the MI Board of Governors up until she retired from the ETB in 2014.

“Between Rosaleen looking down and perhaps Liam McDaid grounding him, he’ll have a good 12 months,” predicted Cllr Campbell.

Fianna Fáil’s Patricia Walsh congratulated Cllr O’Hanlon on his elevation, commenting he had a “hard act to follow” in Cllr Brady.

Independent Brendan Fay told the meeting that, from his time on the board, he had learned that Cllr O’Hanlon’s “heart and soul is in education”, with tributes expressed by other members too.

In response Cllr O’Hanlon said he was “delighted” to be nominate chair, and stated he was aware of the standards, which CMETB upholds.

He said the investment of more than €100 million in school development projects was both a credit to the ETB itself in terms of project delivery, but also the government’s own commitment to delivering “high quality education for young people, safeguarding their future and the enconomy going forward”.

Cllr Kelly was proposed as vice-chair by his party colleague Áine Smith, who said that she remembered as a girl the Kingscourt representative returning to their Bawnboy homestead after meetings of Cavan County Council.

“One thing for sure is his drive for education, and that’s best summed up by getting the school to Kingscourt,” she said, her nomination seconded by Martin McBreen.