The centre, located on the main campus of the Sligo town secondary school, has been named after Bishop Emeritus Christopher Jones.
‘The Bishop Christopher Jones Learning Centre’ is an €800,000 state-of-the-art extension for students with autism.
At yesterday’s official opening of the centre were Bishop Emeritus Jones, Archbishop Charles Brown (Papal Nuncio to Ireland), Bishop Kevin Doran, Cathaoirleach Rosaleen O’Grady, students and teachers in Summerhill.
The members of the clergy blessed the opening while tributes were paid to the former bishop of the Elphin diocese.
Bishop Jones expressed his delight at giving his name to a “magnificent step forward in the life and history of Summerhill”.
He went on to add that “developments like this centre will let people know of the need for integration. I am delighted to be associated with such a progressive development for the college”.
In her address, Cllr O’Grady paid tribute to Bishop Jones as a “person who has led this community”.
“It is a special day for special people with this unit named after a very special person,” Cllr O’Grady added.
In his address to those gathered, Bishop Kevin Doran said that this was evidence that “Summerhill is not just for the good of its students but for the good of the community.”
“Bishop Jones has come to represent the continuity and stability which has come to represent this school,” Bishop Doran added.
Archbishop Charles J Brown also paid tribute to Bishop Jones.
“It is a great honour for me to come down here to Sligo from Dublin on a special day of reflection and thanks to God when we can reflect on the person for whom this centre of learning will be named, Bishop Christopher Jones” he said.
Speaking about the benefit that the new unit will be to Summerhill College, principal Paul Keogh spoke of the enhancement it will be to the college.
“The new learning centre will greatly enhance the College’s provision for students with autism. It will further assist the integration of those attending the centre with the whole college community which has benefits for all at Summerhill College,” he said.