Monday 18 December 2017

Deadline looms as college fights to keep pitches

Clonkeen College in south Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Clonkeen College in south Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron

Alan O'Keeffe

Controversy over the fate of playing pitches at a South Dublin school is expected to continue following today's deadline concerning legal action.

The board of management of Clonkeen College in Deansgrange is determined to fight moves by the Christian Brothers to sell off more than six acres of playing pitches. The religious order signed an €18m contract to sell the pitches to a developer for houses and apartments.

The board members sent a 12-page legal letter to the religious order on June 21 demanding that the Christian Brothers acknowledge by 5pm today that there was an agreement in 2006, in which representatives of the Christian Brothers indicated the lands would not be sold as long as the school remained a school.

A spokesman for the Christian Brothers said yesterday that "notwithstanding a tight turnaround in the context of a very detailed legal correspondence, the Congregation is expected to reply within the time frame" of 5pm today.

But the religious order's "consistent position" has been that "no such understanding existed" that the lands would not be sold, said the spokesman.

Read More: Pitch sale is the logical outcome of redress

He added that "this was reflected in contemporaneous notes of meetings from the time and in subsequent licensing agreements".

The legal letter sent to the religious order on behalf of seven members of the school's board of management declared that the board received assurances from senior members of the order that, apart from a relatively small area of school land, the playing pitches lands would not be sold.

Unless the Christian Brothers acknowledged in writing by 5pm today that it would honour such undertakings, the board members warned High Court proceedings would be issued "without further notice" to ensure the school retained use of the playing fields for its students.

Deputy principal Michael Brennan said yesterday that a further 3.5 acres of land which the religious order stated would remain available to the school for sports facilities, was completely inadequate.

The order seeks to use €10m from the sale to pay to the State Redress Scheme to compensate abuse victims.

Irish Independent

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