Northern Ireland news

Liam Neeson praises 'vision, courage and determination' of those involved in Ballymena's first integrated primary school

Comedian Tim McGarry and integrated education champion, Baroness May Blood attended the official opening of Braidside Integrated Primary School

HOLLYWOOD actor Liam Neeson has praised the "vision, courage and determination" of those involved in establishing Ballymena’s first integrated primary school.

The Ballymena-born star recorded a message of support as Braidside IPS was officially opened yesterday.

He said he believed that "with such a superb new school with first class facilities I know Braidside’s future is going to be even brighter".

"I am so proud of you all for bringing integrated education to my home town of Ballymena and for helping to make it an even better place for everyone," he added.

Comedian Tim McGarry, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen and integrated education champion, Baroness May Blood attended the opening when a commemorative plaque was unveiled.

Mr McGarry said he has been "delighted to support the cause of integrated education and help out with many fundraising and profile raising events".

"Today is what it is all about - enabling children to be able to learn and play together irrespective of their religious and cultural backgrounds, and to form lasting friendships, which hopefully they will carry with them for the rest of their lives," he said.

Ms McIlveen said it was a "significant day for the Braidside pupils, parents, staff and wider community in Ballymena".

"I hope these new, modern facilities will match the school’s collective enthusiasm and passion for learning and teaching and will help the school advance further on its education journey," she said.

School principal Julie McAuley said she was "proud to lead this brilliant school and want to recognise all the founding parents and staff who had the vision and commitment to establish Braidside".

"It has been a taken a long time to get the facilities the children and staff deserves but we got there in the end thanks to the efforts of many people," she said.

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