Brian O'Cinnéide - Whitecross NS

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Brian O'Cinnéide

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Brian O'Cinneide

Brian O’Cinneide along with his step-grandson
Liam who is now in Senior Infants

Brian O’Cinneide passed away in July after a short illness. Brian had taken early retirement as principal of Moneenroe NS in Kilkenny in 2004 and settled in Grange Rath. In September 2005, he dropped his CV into my office. Ten years ago it was very difficult to get a qualified substitute teacher and as a retired teaching principal Brian was an excellent candidate with both the experience and necessary qualifications.

Brian was initially hired to take a Fifth Class as Ms. Kenneally, the class teacher at the time was having a back operation. Little did we know that Ms. Kenneally’s last day in school, before the operation, was in fact to be her last day in school...

Cathriona Kenneally passed away on the operating table on October 18 th, 2005, aged 31 years. The school community was in deep shock when we heard this dreadful news. Over the coming days we had messages of sympathy and support from the local and wider community. However, Brian O’Cinneide was instrumental in dealing effectively with a traumatised Fifth Class and indeed his empathy and advice was deeply appreciated in Whitecross as we tried to keep the show on the road during a difficult time for all of us in the school.

Over the ensuing years Mr. O’Cinneide (as he was known to our pupils) was a most popular visitor to Whitecross. Children, when they found out he was taking their class, were always happy to have him and our teachers enjoyed his company in the staff room. Brian always had a word for everyone in the school and if you were lucky or unlucky (depending on the time you had) there was a story attached. Brian loved history and more than one parent remarked that their children developed a love for history (albeit with a republican slant!) because of Mr. O’Cinneide.

Of course Brian never liked missing a party and when our staff outings were being organised he was always on the guestlist and one of the last to leave... filling our young teachers with stories of teaching in the 60’s, when his career began. Neither did it take much to get Brian to sing one of the ballads in his repertoire. He joined us for one of our more adventurous staff outings in Liverpool. Mr. Murphy was appointed as his physician, to ensure he remembered to take his medication!  

Brian O’Cinneide was a character in the real sense of the word, he was full of wit and personality. He shone a light into the classrooms and staffroom of Whitecross School and he will be greatly missed by teachers and pupils alike.

To Helen and family, Whitecross School extends its deepest sympathy.

We’ll miss you Brian, but I am sure you are regaling the Man Above with stories and the odd ballad!!

Liam Burke

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