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Educate Together Blog

Educate Together Blog

Remembering Seán Murphy

Paul, Chief Executive

Very sad to hear of Seán Murphy's passing away over the weekend.

I first met Seán at one of the very earliest meetings for the Lucan Educate Together school. 

We had received a request from a residents association and I travelled with Deirdre O'Donoghue, our National Coordinator, to try an find an address in the new suburbs. It was the days of "Lucan Planning" there were no street names or numbers - and no mobile phones. It took many enquiries from passers-by until we found the place. Later at a packed meeting in the Foxhunter pub, the residents decided on an Educate Together school and Seán came forward as one of parents who wanted to make it a reality.

Lucan was the first time we had encountered the reality of Ireland's clash of housing needs and corrupt planning. Thousands of houses were built with no provision for schools. Sites were reserved but there was no drive or capability in central or local government to make schools happen. It fell to people like Seán and many others to take up the challenge of making schools a reality. It started first in the scout den on the Liffey flood plain in the village. I remember at the official opening Seán insisting that a presentation was shown to demonstrate the modern technology that even a school in a scout den could have and later him helping a "bottle of wishes" to be launched into the river (later found in Anglesey). The school and its parents, staff and supporters mounted a strong and effective campaign to force government to provide a proper building. After many crises and courageous initiatives, the school was first established in prefabs and then in the end in its current permanent building in Bewley Way.

Seán was for many years the leader of this effort, chairing the Executive Committee and at different times the Board of Management, using his technical skills and being almost always at hand to support the school. 

In the period that Seán led Lucan Educate Together National School, the contemporary form of the Educate Together primary school model was developed. This form was a carefully crafted response to the educational needs of rapidly growing housing areas with massively diverse communities. Lucan ETNS was the first Educate Together school to go 'two stream' or 16 classrooms to meet the scale of demand. It also took the initiative to research and build the first integrated autism unit for Educate Together schools and was one of the very first of our schools to occupy brand new State-owned facilities.

Seán, with his office in the new school, his support of the Educate Together model, his technical skill as a software engineer who could master the difficulties of the acoustics of the new hall and his long commitment to the local community played a huge part in these developments.

When I first met him, Seán was working in an engineering role in the multi-national computer industry far removed from primary education. He was from a minority community and from a background which could have easily allowed him to stay back and let others take on the task. 

Instead he stepped up to help, to work with others, to take risks and initiative, solve problems and make a difference. His hard work and the school that he played such an important part in creating is a credit to him and for which the Lucan community and his family should be rightly proud.

Address: Educate Together, Equity House, 16/17 Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin 7, Ireland - Charity Number: CHY 11816