Bawnboy village works to tackle rural depopulation
A campaign by Bawnboy village in west Cavan for families to relocate there has generated a lot of interest, according to one of those behind the drive, primary school teacher, James Rudden.
The ‘Support Bawnboy’ campaign got underway in a bid to stop the local primary school from losing a teacher.
“At the beginning of summer, it became clear that St. Aidan’s National School was under a lot of pressure. At present, it has 48 pupils and to meet the criteria for a three-teacher school, it needs 51,” said James, who teaches in Dublin but travels home every weekend, playing football with Templeport St. Aidan’s.
“That was the inspiration behind our campaign as well as an indication by Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (ETB) that the closure, within the next three years, of the secondary school, St. Mogue’s College, had been proposed,” said James. The population of Bawnboy is approximately 250.
“A few of us met up last spring and discussed what we could do to retain the third teacher in our primary school and avert the closure of our secondary school. They were our short-term goals; our long-term goal was to attract more people to live in our community.
“We wanted to highlight the reasonable rents and house prices locally as well as all the local amenities including our community centre, and small class numbers. We also highlighted job opportunities in the area,” James said.
“We are only five minutes’ drive from Ballyconnell and 20 minutes’ drive from Cavan town,” he said. “We have had a really positive response to the campaign from both inside and outside the community. We recently had four families visiting to express their interest.
“We have followed the lead of the ‘Stand with Glangelvin’ campaign which also took action to keep its rural community alive. We are targeting everyone, not just city dwellers. We would welcome young and old.
“The community has really rallied around our initiative, working to keep the village looking good and to make sure that people know there will be a welcome for them here,” said James.