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George O’Callaghan, Chief Executive, Limerick and Clare ETB, with Niamh Cooke, the newly-appointed Deputy Principal of Limerick Community Special School, Deirdre Bourke, the newly-appointed Principal of Limerick Community Special School, Donncha Ó Treasaigh, Director of Schools, Limerick and Clare ETB, and Eamon Murphy, Director of Organisation Support and Development, Limerick and Clare ETB. George O’Callaghan, Chief Executive, Limerick and Clare ETB, with Niamh Cooke, the newly-appointed Deputy Principal of Limerick Community Special School, Deirdre Bourke, the newly-appointed Principal of Limerick Community Special School, Donncha Ó Treasaigh, Director of Schools, Limerick and Clare ETB, and Eamon Murphy, Director of Organisation Support and Development, Limerick and Clare ETB.

Education

Limerick Community Special School principal and deputy principal appointed

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George O’Callaghan, Chief Executive, Limerick and Clare ETB, with Niamh Cooke, the newly-appointed Deputy Principal of Limerick Community Special School, Deirdre Bourke, the newly-appointed Principal of Limerick Community Special School, Donncha Ó Treasaigh, Director of Schools, Limerick and Clare ETB, and Eamon Murphy, Director of Organisation Support and Development, Limerick and Clare ETB. Picture: Brian Arthur

Deirdre Bourke has been appointed Principal of Limerick Community Special School, which will open its doors to an initial 30 students in September 2024

Following consultation with the National Council for Special Education (NSCE) the Department of Education made the announcement last December of the creation of four new special schools throughout Ireland, including Limerick, to address the increasing number of students with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

The new school in Limerick, established under the patronage of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (ETB) will help provide for children with a moderate general learning disability and complex needs or autism and complex needs from 4 to 18 years. The initial focus was on children who did not have an offer of a school place for September 2024. In future years it is hoped that the school will cater for further children and young people with special needs.

Deirdre Bourke was previously Team Manager at the National Council of Special Education (NCSE), covering counties Limerick, Clare and Kerry. Her team supported families and over 400 schools to ensure specialised placements and school supports are available to students with Special Education Needs.


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Deirdre brings a wealth of experience in the area of Special Education. She has a post-primary teaching background where she led teaching and learning in Special Classes in Scoil Pól, Kilfinane and Ratoath College, County Meath. She recently graduated with an MA in Management in Education from SETU. She also has a postgraduate diploma in Special Education Needs focusing on reducing stress in students with autism.

Speaking about her appointment Deirdre said: “I feel honoured to be appointed as the Principal of Limerick Community Special School. I am really looking forward to working with families to provide special school placement for our students. I hope the school will grow into a vibrant, open and community-based school which helps every child to shine.”

Niamh Cooke has been appointed Deputy Principal of Limerick Community Special School. Niamh is a B Ed in Education and Psychology graduate from Mary Immaculate College and holds a Master’s Degree in Education.

Niamh brings considerable experience in the area of Special Education as a former teacher in St Gabriel’s School, Limerick, for students with physical disabilities.

She was also an advisor to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) where she delivered national continuous professional development to special schools. Niamh has also supported schools in Limerick, Kerry and Clare in the area of inclusion.

Commenting on the recent appointments, Chief Executive of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, George O’Callaghan, said: “The ETB is looking forward to working with Deirdre and Niamh and the parents/guardians of the students at Limerick Community Special School to establish an inclusive school environment where all students are encouraged to reach their full potential.”

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