McConalogue announces €3 million investment for Teagasc Ballyhaise College
Funding of €3 million has been announced to build new accommodation at the Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College in County Cavan. Plans for the new development were reviewed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, when he was joined by Teagasc chairman Liam Herlihy to turn the sod on the new development.
Ballyhaise Agricultural College is one of four Teagasc colleges. Located in Co Cavan, it has a significant catchment area, from Dublin in the east to Sligo on the west and as far north as Donegal. Accommodation for students on site is critical due to the location of the college in a rural location. Accommodation on the site ensures that students are close to both the theoretical and practical aspects of learning at the college.
Speaking in Ballyhaise at the sod-turning ceremony, Minister McConalogue said; “Education is the key to driving generational renewal in the agriculture sector. We must ensure that the best and brightest have an excellent education to help drive improvements in the future. Ballyhaise College is critical to providing agricultural education in the northern half of the country and I am delighted that through my Department, €3 million is available to provide modern accommodation, and create an innovative learning environment for the next generation of students and future farmers. While this is the start of the journey, the new accommodation will ensure that generations of students can avail of top-class education provided by Teagasc. I’m truly excited to see the project start.”
The number of learners attending the college on courses has consistently topped 1,000 since 2015. The demand for part time courses linked to the CAP Rural Development Programme (RDP) and the introduction of the Young Farmer Scheme (YFS) has greatly swelled the numbers in this time. The full time courses offered at the college are steady with around 400 students attending each year. Furthermore, Ballyhaise is the sole college providing vocational forestry education and learners attend from all over Ireland each year. Courses in poultry and pig production are also offered.
Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O Mara said; “A campus 10 year development plan was created in 2013 which has steered investment in the college. Significant works have been done on the college campus since 2012 to the value of €2.9 million with notable projects including the roof of the house, relocating the advisory office, campus wide biomass heating system, new dairy cubicle house, car park, machinery shed and the refurbishment of a derelict building into small classrooms and a reading room.”
John Kelly, Principal of Teagasc Ballyhaise College said; “The existing college accommodation was built in the mid-1970s and has reached the end of its useful life. Therefore, until the new proposed building is in place accommodation will be limited to 24 students, which can be accommodated in the portion of the old accommodation building being retained. “
Planning permission for the new building is being sought.