Belfast Telegraph

New York hotelier donates $100k to school in Omagh

IEF campaign chair Baroness May Blood with hotelier John Fitzpatrick and Omagh IPS children Jake and Daniel at the opening of the school’s new children’s centre
IEF campaign chair Baroness May Blood with hotelier John Fitzpatrick and Omagh IPS children Jake and Daniel at the opening of the school’s new children’s centre
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

A top international hotelier flew into Omagh recently to launch a children's centre at the town's integrated primary school which he helped fund with a $100,000 (£79,000) donation.

The owner of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, New York, John Fitzpatrick gave almost half of the cost of the facility through the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and via his Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Fund, with the remainder of the building funded by the Friends of Omagh Integrated Primary School. 

The children's centre is part of Omagh Integrated Primary, in the grounds of Drumragh Integrated College, which now allows it to offer a "creche to career" educational service, said its principal Anthony Bradley.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: "I do a lot of projects but integrated education is special to me. I want to do more for the IEF because it's frustrating for us, from the outside looking in, to see integrated education not being able to expand quicker.

"I say it at business dinners in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, isn't it sad that after all the work in Northern Ireland only 8% of schools are integrated?"

He pledged more support to NI by bringing the Ireland Funds, a global philanthropic network's annual conference, here in June during his last year as chairman there. He said: "We're bringing it to Belfast because this year is special with Brexit and no government and what we have seen is that the people of Northern Ireland want to move on."

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