St Columba’s Primary School, Kilrea was chosen for the very first official engagement of the newly appointed Consul General of the Republic of Poland Mr Dariusz Adler who will head up the Polish Consulate when it opens in April. He was accompanied by the Honorary Consul Jerome Mullen and local MLA John Dallat.
A guard of honour greeted the VIP when he arrived and a special assembly enabled the Consul General to see at first-hand the integration of local, Polish and other children from different parts of the world. In his address to his audience Mr Adler paid tribute to the school Principal Mrs Celine Kielt and her staff for their outstanding contribution to education.
Parents were present for this historic occasion and availed of the opportunity to engage with the VIP and have their pictures taken. All the children and, in particular, the Polish children had lots to say about their very positive experiences in Kilrea. Later in the day he also visited St Paul’s College where pupils transferring from St Columba’s are studying Polish to GCSE level.
The Consul General made a short trip out of town to Woodland Furniture where he met the Managing Director Mr Brian McCloskey and his senior management team as well as a number of Polish workers who hold key positions of responsibility among the workforce. He heard of the challenges that will be faced by Brexit and during a tour of the factory he also learned that the factory, apart from having employees from Poland also sources materials from that part of the world.
Finally, the delegation had discussions with members of Saint Vincent de Paul at the SVP Centre and again learned to the very positive contribution the Polish Community have made to the success of this local charity which outreaches to all communities.
Speaking after the event Mr Dallat said:
“The Consul General was overwhelmed by the extra-ordinary relationship which exists between the Polish Community and local people whether it is in our schools, places of work, our medical centres or community organisations.
“This really was a ‘good news’ story coming in a week that seemed overwhelmed by bad news and as a public representative I have never felt more proud to be in the privileged position of accompanying the Consul General on his tour.
“Kilrea welcomes people from different parts of the world and our schools have been exceptional in ensuring that they retain their language and culture while at the same time becoming part of the local cohesive population.
“In this regard it was deserving that St Columba’s Primary School was chosen to play host to the new Honorary General and to have done it in such style.”