FUNDRAISING FILLIP: A cool quarter of a million dollars from Irish America to support St Patrick's College Maynooth development program. Eddie Dowling is on the right.

$250k windfall for Maynooth dev plans as Irish step up in Florida

St Patrick College Maynooth's ambitious development programme 'Beyond 2030' has been given a $250,000 shot-in-the-arm at an Irish fundraiser in Florida.

Padded Wagon chief Eddie Dowling was among donors rowing in behind the funds drive to secure the future mission of both the National Seminary and Pontifical University of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. 

At a dinner in Palm Beach Gardens, FL on Thursday past, Maynooth unveiled its Beyond 2030 plan to an Irish American audience. In attendance were his Grace Rev Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin, Rev Michael Mullaney, President of Maynooth College and Rev Tom Surlis.

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Board members of the Irish Educational Development Foundation presented the Maynooth heads with a check for $250,000 to kick off the campaign.

Beyond 2030 is a multi-million dollar development phased over a number of years and including a new Learning Hub for seminarians and lay students, refurbishment of the seminary and the creation of the Maynooth Centre for Mission and Ministries which will be a key support in the creation of Chaplains, Youth Ministers and Parish Administrators.

Also attending the Florida fundraiser were Foundation Board members Rick Welsh, Fr Aidan Hynes and Bill Murphy as well as Mike Gibbons, Áine, Kelly and Sinead Dowling.

Said President of St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Rev Prof Michael Mullaney: "While Ireland is a progressive, prosperous, multicultural country today, there is still a deep yearning for spirituality and wisdom rooted in its religious heritage. St Patrick’s College, Maynooth has a significant role to play with so many people who are earching for meaning, purpose, hope, belonging, faith, direction, peace and justice."

Eddie Dowling, a long-time supporter of the college, said he was impressed with the hard work that had gone into formulating the Beyond 2030 plan. "They have laid a very strong foundation and the late Taoiseach John Bruton was just one of the eminent people who brought real strength to their development approach," he said. "For me, as a Dubliner, this is about our faith and everything we grew up with so it's something I really want to see do well. However, I'm particularly impressed by the fact that the envisaged developments will also help the village of Maynooth. For example, they plan to build houses in the village not just for students and faculty but also for local people. I am confident Irish America will continue to support the Beyond 2030 vision."