2016 PACCS Conference



gcs03The Conference was opened
by Ursula Finnegan, Principal,
Gallen Community School, who
welcomed everyone and gave a
brief talk about the school.


gcs04PACCS President, Dave Fitzpatrick
welcomed delegates and guests and
introduced the keynote speaker,
Gareth Noble, Children’s Law Department,
KOD Lyons.


Gareth spoke about how important
it is that children’s voices are heard,
and how parents/guardians act as an
advocate for them. Parents should all
know and be aware of their rights
and the rights of children as outlined in
the Constitution and various Department
of Education documents and circulars.
Gareth spoke about the statute of
limitations which exists in taking legal
proceedings. Parents are nowadays more
aware of the rights to equal education for
all and this is a most positive thing when
utilised in a constructive and collaborative
way. He emphasised how important it is
to follow due process, internal methods of
of complaint insofar as possible and
maintaining a good paper trail especially
where there are issues of concern, as this
would be more advantageous should
matters progress to court.

Gareth noted that a school can apply to the Department of Education & Skills at any time, for additional resources as circumstances or assessments can change throughout the year. The timeframe for submitting applications should not in his view be subject to a fixed timeframe although most applications are submitted around the same time of year. He urges a solutions based approach involving all. Issues when arise can be sorted, collaborations of all parties is really the key and best option.


The AGM was opened by PACCS President, Dave Fitzpatrick. He referred to the content of the Conference pack and introduced the current committee.

The Treasurers Report was presented by John Murphy, Auditor, who thanked Julie Kilroy, Treasurer for her assistance throughout the years.

The Secretary’s Report was delivered by Julie Kilroy, in the absence of Connie Carolan.

President Dave Fitzpatrick pointed out that, in line with the PACCS Constitution, both he, and Julie Kilroy would be stepping from the Executive Committee of PACCS at the end of the day.

He proceeded to give a short summary of PACCS and his road to becoming President. He then asked for nominees to the position of PACCS President.

Rebecca Hemeryck was elected as Incoming President of PACCS.



Rebecca Hemeryck,
Incoming President of


The outgoing President continued with the process of election.
The remaining Committee were all deemed re-elected:- Paul Deasy, Brendan Dennehy, Martina O’Shea, Michele Leonard, Louise Reynolds and Elaine Bell.

Following a request for new members to join PACCS, the following people were duly elected:-
Theresa Dunican, Caroline Coogan, Teresa Holohan, Deborah Timmons, Enda Troy, Brenda Cosgrove and Dominic Leonard.


3 Workshops were offered during the Conference, with delegates opting to attend 2 on the day. These were all very well attended.

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A) Worrying and how to put manners on it! – Dr. Paul Deasy

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B) Dads for Dads – The Fatherhood Programme – Brendan Dennehy

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C) Assistive Technology – Deirdre Madden, Outreach Co-Ordinator, UCC

After a hearty lunch in the excellent facilities of Gallen Community School, a repeat of the workshops took place.


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President Dave Fitzpatrick made a presentation of a banner to representatives from the Parents Association of The Rosses Community School, Donegal. Ballinrobe Community School, Co. Mayo also won a banner for their school’s Parents Association. He also made a presentation to Julie Kilroy, and went on to thank Julie for her long standing commitment to PACCS in her various roles as President and Treasurer.


gcs15Incoming President,
Rebecca Hemeryck
made a presentation
to Outgoing President
Dave Fitzpatrick, giving
special thanks to him for
all his hard work and
commitment to PACCS,
claiming that he would be
a hard act to follow!!


Presentations were also made to the providers of the Workshops, Brendan Dennehy, Deirdre Madden and Dr. Paul Deasy. In advance of the Open Forum, President Dave Fitzpatrick gave a final thanks to all who had attended the conference. He thanked Gareth Noble, Keynote Speaker, Gallen Community School – Ursula Finnegan, Principal, Geraldine Keena (BOM), the catering staff and Max, the photographer for the day.

In the absence of Connie Carolan, he gave a special note of thanks for her ongoing commitment and assistance throughout the year.

Dave went on to give special thanks to his wife, Sharon, for all her support during his Presidential role.


An Open Forum discussion took place with (pictured left to right):

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John Irwin Assistant General Secretary ACCS
Betty McLoughlin President Institute of Guidance Counsellors
Aidan Farrell Chief Executive Officer State Examinations Commission
Annette Dolan Deputy General Secretary Teachers Union of Ireland
Diarmuid De Paor Deputy General Secretary Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland

Topics for discussion included the
i) Implementation of the new Junior/Leaving Certificate Cycle; What involvement is taking place with Student unions; Concerns that teachers may be stalling the implementation of the marking process; Class sizes, Curriculum too large and varied.; Core subjects, Pilot scheme for examination 2018 in Politics & Society.
ii) Leaving Certificate results being issued late in the summer
iii) Student Support Accommodation in State Exams;
iv) Student Assessment
v) Two-tiered salary scales for teachers

The Conference was closed and the Panel were thanked for their input.


Incoming PACCS Executive 2016-17