A Christmas Message from Donegal ETB Chief Executive

As we approach Christmas 2021 I would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to the staff and students across our Schools, Centres and Admin Offices throughout the county who have contributed so much to the wonderful work of Donegal ETB during 2021 despite the circumstances and in doing so to acknowledge how extremely difficult this year has been for everyone.

2021 began amid school and centre closures with emergency remote teaching being used and office-based staff working from home.  Our ICT skills were certainly ungraded during this time, and I acknowledge the many other outstanding achievements at every level of our service during 2021 which allowed Donegal ETB to continue to deliver a service of the highest quality to the people of Donegal.  The commitment and dedication of our staff members, led by our managers, in continuing to provide a quality Teaching and Learning service, which is the primary business of Donegal ETB, must be warmly applauded as restrictions remained in place for much of the first part of the year.  Our three pillars are led by our Directors; Cróna Gallagher (Further Education and Training (FET)), Andy McGovern, newly appointed in January (Organisation Support and Development (OSD)) and Dr Martin Gormley (Schools) who do an outstanding job leading staff within their areas.

Each and every staff member has their part to play and our service to the communities of Co Donegal could and would not happen without the dedication and passion shown by all.

The pandemic has brought out the best in us and Donegal ETB has put its collective shoulder to the wheel during 2021. Our new Strategy Statement 2022-2026 was developed during the year with consultation from a wide range of stakeholders and we look forward to implementing the objectives identified in the statement.  Some other notable achievements include the securing of a site in Buncrana for Crana College, Coláiste Chinéal Eoghain and Gaelscoil Bhun Cranncha and the external review of the quality of our FET Service by QQI.  Our work on the ethos of our schools and centres is continuing under the guidance of ETBI and the recent announcement of the new university, Atlantic Technological University in our region will yield many positives for the county.

Our new Chairperson, Cllr Barry Sweeny was recently elected, and I would like to wish him and our new Deputy Chairperson, Cllr Martin Harley every best wish as they undertake their new roles.  We thank and commend our outgoing Chair and Deputy Chair, Cllr Albert Doherty and Cllr Gary Doherty for their excellent work, despite being hampered by restrictions.

I wish to remember all those who are no longer with us and extend my sincere sympathy to all who have sadly been bereaved during 2021.

We must look forward with renewed hope to the New Year as life begins to slowly recover.  We have learned so many new things during the pandemic but I believe we have learned to be kinder to ourselves and to others.  Our wellbeing is key, and we have had many great examples of minding ourselves since March 2020.  This work must continue because these times have taught us to cherish every day in some small way.

In this month of the birth of Colmcille 1500 years ago we remember what a great Donegal person he was as he worked tirelessly for his vocation throughout his life and never gave up hope.

I wish everyone well for the year ahead but most of all I wish good health for you and your families and loved ones.  Please enjoy a safe and peaceful break over Christmas and the New Year and we continue to encourage you to adhere to government health guidelines on COVID-19. We look forward with hope to 2022 and the continuation of our work on behalf of the people of Donegal.