The Save St. Mary’s Action Group has voiced their disappointment at not being able to participate in a meeting between Fermanagh and Omagh District Councillors and representatives of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) last Friday in Enniskillen.

Frank Maguire, of the action group praised the local community who travelled to Enniskillen for the protest, which gained support from members of the public who submitted rejection responses to the closure of the school.

“Overall we were delighted with the turnout for our protest, particularly on a Friday afternoon during summer holidays.

“We were disappointed that we weren’t allowed in but it didn’t deter us taking our campaign in earshot of the CCMS.

“We were prepared to confront representatives of the CCMS going into the meeting.

“However they obviously got wind of our protest and gained entry via another part of the building.

“We received fantastic support and good luck wishes from the members of the public passing through the Diamond and their willingness to sign our letter of objection.

“During our short protest we received over 200 responses which is adding to the daily increase of objections overall,” explained Frank to this newspaper.

SDLP councillor for Erne North, John Coyle, who requested the meeting, said it gave him the chance to let the CCMS know what they were doing to the local area with the threat of closure to the school.

“I made it abundantly clear that because of the actions of the CCMS, it was their fault the school was in the situation it was in.

“The CCMS are doing everything the can to thwart the school.

“I cleared my chest of all issues and they did listen but it is now all with the Department of Education.”

Councillor Coyle pointed out to the Council’s community development plan and the how they want to have “vibrant rural communities” but the threat of closure goes against this.

He said the school needs respite from the threat of closure for five to 10 years and money has to be invested into the school.

The meeting, which was requested by the Council, only saw five Councillors in attendance.

Sinn Féin’s Chris McCaffrey, who was there, said it was disappointing that more Councillors did not show up and cross-community support was required in the fight to keep the school open.

He was also critical that representatives from the action group were not allowed into the meeting as well.

However, a Council spokesperson said the public are not allowed to informal meeting between Council representatives and other bodies.

“It’s an important issue. It’s a cross community school and more representation is needed from unionists.

“I couldn’t have it in my conscience to vote to close any school regardless what side of the community it serves but I want to give credit to all Councillors that were there.”

In regards to no parents being allowed in Councillor McCaffrey added: “Transparency to me is important.

“We have nothing to hide so there is no reason why parents couldn’t come in and listen to Councillors fight their corner.”

Both Councillors paid tribute to the parents, students and local community who did turn up for the protest.

A CCMS spokesperson confirmed that representatives were happy to accept an invitation from the Council to attend an informal meeting with members.