Sports teams left counting the cost as pitches are sold off for housing
Sports teams on Dublin's northside are going to lose out after a number of pitches adjacent to St Paul's College in Raheny were sold for development.
The Vincentians - the religious order which owns St Paul's and the land around it - have agreed to sell about half the sports grounds on the property for housing.
Terms of the deal have not been revealed, but it is believed Greg Kavanagh's New Generation Homes will take the 15-acre site in a deal worth more than €25m.
The sale will spark comparisons to the Celtic Tiger years, when developers fought to buy pitches and other greenfield and brownfield sites around Dublin for development.
The deal is a coup for Mr Kavanagh, who apparently saw off two other bidders for the site - which originally had been expected to fetch €20m. The 29-year-old developer - who famously described himself as the "Ronaldo of the property market" - has been one of the main developers to emerge in recent months.
While the sale will free up space for badly-needed houses, a number of local sports teams have been informed that the pitches will not be available from the end of August. Clontarf GAA teams use the pitches to train and play underage matches on, while Clontarf Football Club also uses the space. A number of teams also use an astroturf pitch there as well.
Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Deirdre Heney expressed concern and said that "it is vital facilities be maintained for both St Paul's students and local teams".
In a statement, the Vincentians said part of the proceeds from the sale would be used to improve the school.
"After much consideration the Vincentians have decided to sell roughly half of the overall site which surrounds the provincial office and St Paul's school, Raheny. A contract has already been signed. We Vincentians no longer have the resources to manage such a large site and must plan for the changing circumstances within our community.
"Presently, St Paul's school is in need of investment. As an outcome of the sale the Vincentians will be investing over €7m in upgrading the school and its grounds. We will be providing the capital to build a multi-purpose sports hall, the renewal of the astro pitches and providing the site and the funds to build a new multi-purpose flood-lit pitch.
"The remainder of the €7m funds will be placed in a trust for the future needs of the school."