Hi Paul, congratulations on your new position. How are you feeling? Are you happy, anxious, confident? What is your state of mind?
I am honoured to have been elected as President of the CEEC for the next four years, and I look forward to working with my CEEC colleagues, as well as with the leaders of our partner organisations, to further the project of Catholic education in an increasingly secularised Europe.
Can you tell us more about your background and experience in Catholic education?
Educated in Dublin by the Marist Brothers, I became a teacher in 1973 in Marian College after I finished my Science degree. I became the first lay-Principal of the school in 1988 and soon became actively involved the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools (AMCSS) becoming President from 2004 to 2006. At that time, I became the Irish representative on the CEEC, joining the Executive Board and for the last eight years I have been Treasurer of the CEEC. In Ireland, I am currently the Chairperson of the Association of Patrons and Trustees of Catholic Schools (APTCS), a Director of the Catholic Education Partnership (CEP) and a Director of the Le Chéile Education Trust.
In your opinion, what are the most important challenges that Catholic education is facing at the present time?
In my view, Catholic education occupies a vital position in the Europe of today. Our emphasis on the search for meaning, and our position between the family, the State and the market, means that the education provided in our schools will never be simply to further the ends of the State, nor sim ply to meet the needs of the market, but will continue to be an informed examination of the place of the individual within his or her community and society. We face the challenge of maintaining our Catholic identity whilst being open and welcoming to people of all faiths and none. To achieve this, we rely on our teachers and one of our greatest challenges is to identify future teachers and leaders who are committed to the message of the Gospel.
As President of CEEC, how will your position and/or the Association help to address these challenges?
During my Presidency, CEEC will continue to explain the value, rationale and legal basis for Catholic education, support our member organisations in their relationships with their Governments, and form an active collaborative network sharing the best of Catholic education.
Thank you for your time. I wish you every success in your new position.