Supporting Local News

Spaniards save local school – and live rent-free for a year for doing it!

A Spanish family has been selected as winners of the ‘free house for a year’ deal offered by a Galway Gaeltacht community to boost enrolment and help save a teacher at its primary school.

Isabel Fortes and Miguel Ángel Ros, and their five children of school-going age, will relocate from Northern Spain to An Chloch Bhreac (Cloghbrack) outside of An Fhairce (Clonbur) on August 1.

They beat off competition from 1,180 families who had applied for an offer of a house rent free for a year in an initiative involving the local Co-Op (Comharchumann Dhúiche Sheoigheach Teo) and PJ Fahy’s construction company ECC Teo in Corr na Mona.

The aim was to lure a family with young children to the rural parish in County Galway to boost enrolment – and save Scoil Naomh Pádraig.

The Gaelscoil currently has two teachers (a teaching principal plus one other teacher) and a learning support teacher.  But it needed twelve pupils enrolled for September otherwise it would lose one teacher the following year, which represented an existential threat.

The successful couple from Spain have five children (two aged nine, two aged eight and one aged five), who will enrol into infants, third and fourth classes.

This, coupled with two more unexpected enrolments, means there will be 15 children at Scoil Naomh Pádraig in September.

“We are happy out. Over one thousand applications came in and we whittled it down to 20, and then down to 10, and we interviewed a number of them, and chose this family from Northern Spain. It’s absolutely ideal for us. Five pupils and their ages are ideal,” said principal Geraldine Feerick.

The mother, Isabel Fortes is already in Galway working with Boston Scientific. The father, a mechanic with a truck licence, and children will relocate later this summer.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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