Don’t let them down

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Inishowen has young people equal to any in the world in terms of academic ability and it would be an absolute tragedy if that talent was lost to not only this area but the country because parents can’t afford to pay university fees. Indeed, it would be a terrible indictment of us as a society.

That’s the srongly held view of the principal of Inishowen’s largest secondary school, Paul Fiorentini, of Carndonagh Community School, who this week told the ‘‘Journal’ while he was delighted with his school’s success in the Leaving Certificate he would be concerned for families struggling in the current climate.

Speaking with the ‘Journal’ yesterday Mr. Fiorentini said with more than 2,000 pupils across Donegal getting their results this week many families could be facing tough decisions as they read this article this morning

“Five years ago you could have taken it as read anyone who wanted to go to college would do so. That’s definitely not so any more.

“A lot of families are hurting but many are keeping that private. Grant structures are available for students but that might not be enough in itself. We might be reverting to the case where it’s the oldest - or the brightest - in the family goes to college and the rest miss out.”

The Carn school boss said it some instances it was ‘back to the future’ as he was aware of one case in recent years where a student had left Carn C.S. early to subsidise the education of his siblings. There was also, he said, some canses where ‘granny and granda’ would be chipping in where they could.

He explained: “We are reverting to the old ‘money from America’ syndrome only now its money from Sydney or Montreal or wherever. That’s how a lot of Inishowen families will be finding the money to send their kids to university in Dublin or Cork or Belfast this year - and maybe for quite a few years to come.”

Meanwhile the principal of Crana College in Buncrana, Liam Galbraith, had the following advice for students: “The most important thing for students today is to remain calm, not to panic or feel depressed or to compare results unfavourably with others. It is very important for students to remain optimistic over the coming weeks as offers for Third Level are processed and places become available. I am confident that there will be options for everyone so long as they are persistent, patient and flexible. In Crana College the Guidance Counsellors will be available throughout next week, they will contact every student by phone.”