Joe McDonagh, the chief executive officer of the Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim Education and Training Board, has launched the 2014 Corrib Natural Gas 3rd Level Scholarship Programme in Belmullet.
McDonagh paid tribute to the Corrib Gas Partners for their support for students and parents in the pursuit of 3rd level education.
The Corrib Gas scholarship programme is entering its eighth year.
In the first six years of the programme, 61 students received scholarships valued at €4,000 per year of their three or four-year course. Last year a change in the structure of the programme saw the number of scholarships increased to sixteen while the value was set at €2,000 per year of the degree undertaken.
A further sixteen scholarships will be awarded later this year.
The scholarships are open to Leaving Cert students attending the four-second level schools in the Erris catchment – Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet; St Brendan’s College, Belmullet; Coláiste Chomáin, Ros Dumhach, and St Patrick’s College, Lacken-Cross.
Shell’s commitment to investment in the community
Application forms are currently available in the four schools and at the Belmullet offices of the Corrib Natural Gas project. The themed essay, which students will write as part of the application process, will be undertaken in the Gateway Leisure Complex on Saturday morning, April 12.
At the launch, Joe McDonagh thanked the school principals and teachers for their involvement with the programme. That support and encouragement were very important for the students.
The former Galway All-Ireland hurling medal winner and GAA President recently took up his role as CEO of the regional Education and Training Board covering counties Mayo, Sligo, and Leitrim.
In a wide-ranging address, he referred to Shell’s commitment to investment in the local community quite apart from the scholarships programme. He had been at the official opening of the new Belmullet GAA grounds and clubhouse when he attended Comórtas Peil na Gaeltachta in May 2010.
He recalled meeting then GAA President Christy Cooney and other top GAA officials who were “envious” of the club and their sources of funding.
Following a recent visit to Coláiste Chomáin, he was also aware of the contribution that Shell and other contractors on the Corrib Gas project were making to the Coláiste by way of facilities and support for PLC courses and apprenticeships. “The Corrib project has opened up new opportunities for young people in Erris in the oil and gas industry and hopefully these opportunities will increase in the future,” he said.