The successful students – chosen from the four secondary schools in the Erris area – are undertaking courses ranging from physiotherapy to biochemistry and from primary school teaching to physics.

The ten students are: Siobhan Barrett (St Brendan’s College, Belmullet); Aoife Cafferkey (Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet); Rachel Carey (Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet); Tara Carey (St Patrick’s College, Lacken Cross); Martin Donoghue (St Brendan’s College, Belmullet); Amy Gallagher (Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet); Colm Kelly (St Patrick’s College, Lacken Cross); Laura McAndrew (St Patrick’s College, Lacken Cross); Máire Ní Rudaigh (Coláiste Chomáin, Ros Dumhach), and Seán Ó Murchú (Coláiste Chomáin, Ros Dumhach).

The winners were selected by the independent Corrib Natural Gas Scholarship Board. All applicants were required to submit a personal essay and a themed essay (entitled “Technology Today - For Better or Worse”), on which their entries were assessed by the Board members.

“These scholarships are much sought-after and the standard of entry was very high, making the choice of successful candidates difficult for the Board members,” said Mr Seán Staunton, chairman of the Scholarship Board. “All of those who applied are to be congratulated on their effort,” he said.

Mr Seán Staunton extended good wishes to all the students who participated in the programme and thanked the Corrib Gas Partners for their support for the scholarships scheme. He paid tribute to the school principals, career guidance teachers and all of the applicants for their participation in the scholarship programme.

Mr Terry Nolan, Managing Director, Shell E&P Ireland Limited, congratulated the successful applicants. “The students have every right to feel proud of their achievements to date and I have no doubt they will go on to be successful at third level also,” said Mr Nolan.

He thanked the members of the Board - Seán Staunton, Mrs Breda Holmes, Fr Kevin Hegarty, Mrs Bridie O’Donnell and Tony McGarry - for the experience and commitment they brought to the selection process.

This is the fifth year in which the scholarships programme has operated and the total number of scholarships awarded now stands at 51.