Liam Neeson ‘so proud’ of first Catholic school in Northern Ireland to become integrated in heartwarming video message to parents and staff

The famous actor lent his support to Seaview Primary after it became the first Catholic school in the country to become integrated

Hollywood star Liam Neeson has recorded a message of support and congratulations for a school in Northern Ireland which has voted to become integrated, meaning children of all religions can attend.

Mr Neeson said he is “delighted that so many parents across Northern Ireland are choosing an integrated future for their children”.

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He described the move as a “positive step forward on the journey to an inclusive society”.

Liam Neeson ‘so proud’ of first Catholic school in Northern Ireland to become integrated in heartwarming video message to parents and staff (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Mr Neeson said: “I want to congratulate all the parents, the staff, the governors of schools right across Northern Ireland who are taking courageous steps to ensure children from different traditions will get to learn and play together every day, in the same school.”

He added: “You are actively helping to build inclusive communities. Well done, I am so proud of you all.”

What does integration mean for the school?

Seaview Primary school in Glenarm, Northern Ireland, will become the first Catholic school in the country to convert to an integrated school.

The school, which was earmarked for closure by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) over sustainability concerns, will become integrated as of 21 September.

Following a majority vote in favour of integration by parents at the school, the local education authority initially refused the request, however the Education Department overturned the decision.

Since plans for the school to become integrated were revealed two years ago, the total number of pupils has almost doubled, from 42 to 80.

The number of Protestant pupils at the school in that time has also increased from seven to 24, meaning there are 24 Protestant pupils, 24 Catholic pupils and 22 who identify as ‘other’

‘Exciting challenges’

The school’s principal, Barry Corr, said: "We educate pupils from all faiths and those that do not identify with any.

"Pupils grow up and learn about what makes them the same and what makes them different in a caring, loving and respectful way.

"We look forward to the exciting challenges from choosing a new school name and uniform to establishing a new school development plan."