Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, Celine Govern, (Village Preschool owner), Paul McCabe, Leas Cathaoirleach, Meath Co Council and Minister for Sport, Thomas ByrneALL PHOTOS: David Mullen/

Minister officially cuts the ribbon on new early years care and education facility in Carnaross

Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman visited Carnaross last week to officially launch the Village Pre-School and Afterschool, a new early years care and education facility located in the grounds of the local GAA club.

The service is owned and run by Celine Govern, a secondary school teacher, who opened her first pre-school in Moynalty over 20 years ago and last year opened a pre-school and after-school service in Nobber.

Her latest facility in Carnaross offers a full-time service for children from the age of two, as well as ECCE and after-school services.

It is the first time there has ever been a pre-school or childcare service in Carnaross and it has been widely welcomed by the local community.

What was once a derelict cottage in the GAA grounds has been transformed into a bright and modern building providing early years care and education and after school services to the children of the area.

Celine worked in conjunction the local GAA club to get the project off the ground. As the derelict cottage was in the middle of the GAA grounds, Celine explained it wasn't really suitable for residential and was ideal for a childcare facility.

Celine has invested in the refurbishment of the cottage which is owned by Carnaross GFC in return for a minimum rent for the first few years in recognition of the money she spent on the building.

The Village Pre-School has its own outdoor play area with swing and outdoor classroom but also has use of the football pitch and the walking track so children have lots of opportunity to be outdoors.

Celine said: "It is a community private partnership and it is working very well. We are using their car park when they are not using it, and I have invested the money into their building."

Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman is a friend of Celine's and agreed to come to Carnaross to perform the official opening. Also in attendance were Minister for Sports and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne and local councillors Paul McCabe, Sarah Reilly, and David Gilroy.

Speaking at opening, Celine referenced the Government's national childcare scheme, which she said has significantly reduced parental fees and helps children receive the highest quality early childhood education and care. She also spoke about the staffing crisis in the early years profession, highlighting the need for increased funding to improve terms and conditions for educators while providing sustainability for providers.

Congratulating Celine on the establishment of her new school in the grounds of Carnaross GFC, Minister O’Gorman was particularly complimentary of the school's outdoor classroom citing the importance of outdoor play for children’s development and well-being.

Damian Finn, chairperson of Carnaross GFC said he was delighted to be present at the opening of the new service, he highlighted the urgent need for a footpath to be installed, linking Carnaross primary school with the GAA club and the Village Preschool and After- School.

Minister Byrne congratulated Carnaross GFC and Celine on working together, highlighting it as an example of community and private partnership.

Minister Byrne, concluded by congratulating Celine and the Govern family who have a long tradition of enterprise in East Meath.