Farewell to two pillars of Cherry Orchard community

By Maurice Garvey

LONG-standing pillars of the Cherry Orchard community have recently moved on to pastures new – representing an emotional month for the area.

Parish Priest Gerry O’Connor CSsR and St Ultan’s Principal Ena Morley have said their goodbyes in recent weeks – the pair collectively have over 23 years experience working for Cherry Orchard.

Ena Morley and Fr Gerry OConnor Ballyfermot June 2016
Ena Morley (left) and (right) Fr Gerry O’Connor with Daithí de Roiste

A farewell party was held for Fr O’Connor at the Church of the Most Holy Sacrament on May 28, whilst St Ultan’s held a celebration night on Friday for Ms Morley, who has been principal of the school since it opened its doors in 2006.

Fr O’Connor, who is moving to Cork, tweeted a message at the time which said “after 13 years of serving the people of Cherry Orchard with joy and contentment, I bid my farewell, full of emotion.”

Independent Councillor Vincent Jackson said there was a “huge amount of goodwill” at the ceremony from a packed crowd for the popular priest.

“He set up the support group which brought a couple of hundred people to Haiti to rebuild a school after the earthquake,” said Cllr Jackson.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Daithí de Róiste served with Fr Gerry on the Board of St Ultan’s for five years, and said he was a “pillar of strength.”

Cllr de Róiste said: “St Ultan’s would not be the innovative project it is today without both Gerry and Ena. People should understand the 16-hour days Gerry put into this project at the beginning to get it up and running.

“Hundreds were at his party. Most of them young people who turned out due to the massive impact he had on their lives. He will be a massive loss.”

A message by Ena Morley on the St Ultan’s website said it was a “privilege to play a part in the growth and development of the school.”

Formerly a teacher in St Michael’s NS, Ballyfermot, Ena said: “When I took on the job of principal, I was blessed with the strong belief that it was the right decision.

“Without doubt, I can honestly say that my role as principal of St Ultan’s has been the most rewarding and fulfilling.”

She thanked staff, parents and partners for “tremendous support” and said the school will go from strength to strength.

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