President Mary Robinson is in Tallaght to celebrate twenty five years of Tallaght Community School.

A piper welcomed President Mary Robinson to Tallaght Community School this morning to mark the school's twenty fifth anniversary.

Tallaght along with Coolmine and Carna in County Galway was one of the first community schools in the country and went on to serve as a model for the many new schools that were established in the years that followed. The school's first principal Padraic Heeran believes that one of the biggest challenges he faced in 1972 was,

To centre a school on the pupils.

From day one Tallaght Community School provided a broad range of technical and academic subjects. It also had a management structure unique to Irish education, which consisted of parents, teachers, the VEC (Vocational Education Committee) and the Catholic Church. Principal Pat Coffey who brought the president on a tour of the school explains how this works,

We more or less take direction from the community. We represent the community.

In her speech the President congratulated the school's innovative nature,

I believe that it made a very important contribution to the modern Ireland that we see now.

In an era where the educational landscape in Ireland is changing, Diarmaid Ó Murchú from the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools believes that this model is still of relevance today. In cases where rationalisation of resources is required, it is possible for a new school which

Brings together the richness of the two traditions from the conventional secondary schools and religious trustees.

An RTÉ News reports broadcast on 8 May 1997. The reporter is Alasdair Jackson.