Friday 23 March 2018

Clonkeen College owners 'powerless' to stop land sale

Clonkeen College in south Dublin
Clonkeen College in south Dublin

Ryan Nugent

Clonkeen College owners have insisted they had no involvement in putting its land up for sale - with local councillors now calling on the Government to buy the site.

Among a number of motions discussed at a Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council meeting were calls for an urgent meeting with Education Minister Richard Bruton on the issue.

There was also a request put to council management for a full report to be issued next month on what options, if any, it may have to halt the sale.

Some 90pc of schools in the area were described as "vulnerable" as they, similarly to Clonkeen College, are zoned as "residential", meaning housing can be built on the land.

The Christian Brothers religious order is in the process of selling seven acres at the school, including a number of playing pitches.

It says the money raised will be used to pay compensation for victims of clerical abuse. And the order has promised to secure 3.5 acres and €1.3m for the school.

School owners sent an email to city councillors yesterday insisting they could not do anything to prevent the Christian Brothers from selling.

The Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) said that a Deed of Conveyance signed when it was handed the school ensured that it would not be allowed to make any objection to a future sale of land at Clonkeen.

The decision to sell the land is the sole responsibility of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, chief executive Gerry Bennett said.

"While ERST owns the school, the Trust does not own the playing fields at Clonkeen. ERST was not involved in the decision of the Christian Brothers to sell part of the playing fields.

"We were given limited information about the sale and had to give an undertaking that we would maintain confidentiality prior to being given this."

Discussions on selling the land began as long ago as May 2016.

But the school management was not told until recent weeks when a contract was entered into by the order and developer Patrick Durkan Snr.

The ERST hopes to meet school management soon.

"We have made numerous requests to meet with the school since the news about the Congregation's proposed sale was announced," Mr Bennett added.

Irish Independent

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