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Bandon Tuition Centre’s temporary internet lifeline for Gaggin workers

July 30th, 2020 5:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

Tony Cullinane has had to go to St Patrick’s Church car park to get an internet connection. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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BANDON Tuition Centre has come to the temporary rescue of a group of Gaggin residents  who, due to sub-standard broadband, had been forced to work from their local church car park since lockdown.

Eoghan O’Sullivan, who runs the centre read about the workers’ plight in The Southern Star last month.

Despite its central location between Bandon and Clonakilty, around 100 households in a valley in Gaggin have to make do with average download speeds of 0.2mbps and an upload speed of 0.01mbps.

Eoghan said: ‘We live a couple of miles outside Bandon myself and were lucky enough to get connected to fibre last year. I know that there is no way I could have taught online successfully with my old broadband connection, which was frankly terrible. I realised there was no end in sight for their struggle to get fast broadband. Our main building is only a stone’s throw from the church carpark they were using as a base. Our landlord has been very good to us during lockdown and so we decided to pass on the favour to them.

‘During the summer our rooms are completely empty and naturally we have excellent broadband. We could offer them a separate office and separate bathroom each, so it was ideal from a Covid-19 risk point of view.’

James O’Regan is one of the workers who has availed of Eoghan’s gesture. He said: ‘It has been greatly appreciated and a nice reminder that there are decent people out there.’

Fellow Gaggin resident Tony Cullinane agreed. However they’re both stressing that this is just a temporary solution, and that long term, their situation hasn’t improved.

James said: ‘We’re still in limbo and relying on the National Broadband Plan.’

Tony added: ‘In the interim this was very helpful but nothing has changed for us really. We’re still in the very same situation and the premises won’t be available to us from September.’

His daughter is a student in Mary I college in Limerick and has already been told that she’ll only be physically attending one week in four.

‘The situation is still very much a concern for my family,’ he said.

The Tuition Centre Bandon offers grinds, revision courses and supervised study at secondary level, with additional services for primary school and 3rd level students. When the government ordered school closures on March 12th, the Centre followed suit, but found themselves busier than ever.

Their first online tuition session was delivered the following day, and within weeks they were teaching students from every county in Ireland, all free of charge. It’s currently running an online summer school.

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