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This year a record 62 applications were received. The process for selecting the ten successful applicants has commenced and the outcome of the Scholarship Board’s deliberations will be made known to all applicants later in the year.

The programme is now in its fifth year. To date scholarships have been awarded to 41 students and a further ten will be selected this year to commence third level education in October.

The scholarships are valued at €4,000 per annum for three or four years, depending on the duration of the chosen course. They are awarded to successful students completing their Leaving Cert at one of the four participating colleges: Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet; St Brendan’s College, Belmullet; Coláiste Chomáin, Ros Dumhach, and St Patrick’s College, Lacken Cross.

The programme is overseen by an independent, five-member Scholarship Board which is chaired by Seán Staunton (Westport). The other members of the Board are Breda Holmes (Doohoma), Bridie O’Donnell (Bangor), Fr Kevin Hegarty (Belmullet) and Tony McGarry (Killala).

Bridie O’Donnell recently replaced Mr Ian McAndrew (Belmullet) who stood down after serving as a member for over three years. Bridie served as a member of the National Parents’ Council in the 1990s, was a founder member of the Mayo Parents’ Association and is a past member of two local boards of management.