Plans progress on new animal facility at ATU

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 Press Office
Press Releases
Minister turning sod on new ATU Mountbellew facility

The Chairman of Mountbellew Agricultural College Tom Parlon together with representatives from Teagasc and Atlantic Technological University (ATU) last week (Thursday 9 May 2024) welcomed Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to the east Galway campus where he turned the first sod on the college’s planned new Sheep Housing and Handling Facility on the campus’ live farm.

The new facility will be an integral part of the training programmes in Mountbellew, supporting the college’s commercial sheep enterprise and allowing learners to engage in a very meaningful way with the college farm activities. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister McConalogue said: “This year Mountbellew Agricultural College celebrates 120 years in existence. When founded it was the first of its kind in Ireland. It is fitting that we should mark that milestone by planning for the educational needs of future generations of students. When completed, the sheep handling and housing facility will undoubtedly enhance the experience of those students who come here from all over the country to learn about sheep farming. Good practices in animal breeding, flock health and grassland management are the central to the achievement of financial gains and technical efficiency in sheep farming.”

“My policy as minister is to continue to support the sheep sector to improve its competitiveness and productivity. The return on those investments and supports will have associated benefits for its economic and climate efficiency. I am certain that, on completion, the new sheep facility will prove a valuable asset to the college and enhance its well-deserved reputation for delivering excellent training programmes. I wish all involved every success for the future,” Minister McConalogue added.

Dr Edna Curley, Principal of Mountbellew Agricultural College, ATU campus, commented: “It is a real privilege and honour to welcome our Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to Mountbellew Agricultural College. We are delighted to be joined by our partners, Teagasc, ATU and LOETB who support us in all of our activities. Today, for our learners and around a super team of staff, host farmers, stakeholders, neighbours, family and friends we are building our infrastructure. We are building upon a wonderful foundation established by the Franciscan Brothers; and we hope to do them proud in our work and carry on their legacy here in Mountbellew.”

Dr AnneMarie Butler, Head of Education, Teagasc, said: “Today marks the commencement of an exciting new development for Mountbellew Agricultural College which will benefit learners, staff, the sheep enterprise, stakeholders and the wider region.  Learners will enjoy state of the art sheep facilities while developing and enhancing their practical skills and knowledge.  Congratulations to all at Mountbellew and best wishes with the development works.”

Mountbellew Agricultural College has almost 900 students studying a range of full-time and part-time courses from levels 5 to degree level 8, delivered by Teagasc, ATU and Laois Offaly Education and Training Board (ETB).  The programmes are designed to promote understanding of specific disciplines such as rural enterprise and agri-business, environmental management and recently, agricultural engineering.

For further information on programmes in Mountbellew Agricultural College, please visit:


Regina Daly, Atlantic TU Communications 
Tel: +353 (0)91 742826 Mob: +353 (0)879618355