The Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Clogher, Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, has appointed Mr Páraic Duffy, the former Director-General of the GAA (Cumman Luthchleas Gael), as the new Chairperson of the Board of Management of St Macartan’s College, Monaghan. Páraic replaces Canon Shane Mc Caughey who will step down from the role after a period of twenty-one years. Páraic Duffy is a former student, teacher and principal of St Macartan’s. In 1996, he became the first lay principal of the college; today, he is the first lay Chairperson of its Board of Management.
Commenting on the appointment, Mgr Mc Guinness noted that for the first time since the college opened its doors to students some one hundred and seventy years ago the management of the college would not be led by a priest. He added, however, that ‘while this innovation is a break with the past, the diocese is confident that the College will be able to remain true to its ethos and will continue to provide the highest of standards in Catholic Education, being at all times true to its motto “Strong and Faithful”.’ Mgr McGuinness thanked Páraic Duffy for agreeing to take on the role and stated his confidence that St Macartan’s would benefit greatly from his outstanding experience, ability and dynamism.
Monsignor McGuinness paid tribute to Canon McCaughey for his tireless endeavours and his strong stewardship at the college over the past two decades, in addition to other important duties he undertakes at diocesan and parish level.
The role of manager or chairperson of the board is more than just one of managerialism, looking after the practical day-to-day business of what is a significant enterprise catering for the educational needs of the north Monaghan area. The chairperson of the board of management of St Macartan’s College is the guardian of the ethos, the holder of the flame, the person who guides the school by way of the charism of its founder. The chairperson’s role is to ensure that the school is placed at that juncture where the discourse of Faith meets the discourse of education. The chairperson encourages the board, and in turn the school to understand the culture and charism of Catholic education in a changing and challenging society. Part of the role is to remind the school community that whether it be the best of times or the worst of times, the school has at its centre the person of Jesus Christ, providing for its students a charter and a pathway through the difficult years of adolescence, and providing a roadmap for negotiating the journey of life in adulthood.
Since the foundation stone for St Macartan’s College was laid in 1840, the College has managed to remain true to its ethos, “Fortis et Fidelis”, (strong and faithful). From its inception as a Junior Seminary (hence known as the Sem), where young men were prepared for attendance at a Senior Seminary to train for the priesthood, the College has grown and developed and changed in a myriad of different ways. Over the decades the changes were often subtle gradual developments, while at other times they were very obvious major and significant re-ordering and redirections. In the early days the intake of students was from an enormous catchment area stretching from Donegal to Dublin, where students would board in the College for preparation for Senior Seminary training or for third level studies for the professions. With the educational developments of the 1960’s the intake of boarders was supplemented by the arrival of day boys from all over county Monaghan. The closure of the boarding school in the early 1990’s saw the intake of students increase to over 750 a year. Over the decades too there was a progression in staff personnel, from the early years where priests were solely employed as teachers, followed by the introduction of lay teachers in the 1960’s, to the present situation where there are no priests employed as teachers.
Through all these stages the school has retained its identity as a Diocesan College under the patronage of the Bishop of Clogher. In all this time diocesan priests were responsible for the management of the College, either as managers per se or more recently as chairpersons of the Board of Manangement.
Notes for Editors:
1. St. Macartan’s College is a post-primary school for boys. The school caters for boys from 12 to 18 years old. St. Macartan’s has a long and proud academic tradition with past pupils to be found in every walk of life in Ireland and abroad. The current principal of St Macartan’s College is Mr Raymond McHugh. For more information on the college, visit www.stmacartanscollege.ie
2. Páraic Duffy was Ard Stiurhóir (Director-General) of the GAA from 2008 until 2018. He was previously Player Welfare Officer of the Association and held several other positions within the GAA including Chairperson of Monaghan County Board 1982-87. A former student and then teacher at St Macartan’s, he was the first lay principal of the school from 1996 until 2007.
3. Canon Shane McCaughey is currently the Diocesan Secretary and Chancellor of the Diocese of Clogher. He is also the Priest-in-Residence in the Parish of Aughnamullen East (Lough Egish / Carrickatee), Co Monaghan.
4. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh and portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has a Catholic population of 88,000, across 37 parishes, which are served by 63 priests and 1 deacon. There are 85 churches in the diocese.
5. Monsignor Joseph McGuinness is the Diocesan Administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher, pending the appointment of a new bishop by Pope Francis. He is also the Administrator of the Parish of Tyholland, Co Monaghan.