Saturday 21 April 2018

New primary school to be built on the grounds of All Hallows College as part of €14m deal

The All Hallows campus in Drumcondra, north Dublin
The All Hallows campus in Drumcondra, north Dublin
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A major new primary school is to be built in the grounds of the historic All Hallows College as part of the €14m deal to sell it to Dublin City University (DCU).

The university finalised the sale this morning after it was initially agreed in principle last June.

It followed a lengthy approval process which had to be signed off by the Vatican.

Details of the new primary school, which is expected to cater for around 450 pupils, had not been previously announced.

The Department of Education has been seeking expressions of interest in building a new school for the Drumcondra/Marino area, but the site was unclear.

The deal with DCU guarantees the 174-year-old college will continue to be used for educational purposes and that existing All Hallows students will be able to finish out their courses.

The cash-strapped college, which stands on a 6.74 hectare site, was put up for sale in 2014 as management believed it needed a major cash injection to stay open.

It became embroiled in controversy after seeking to raise funds through the sale of letters written by the late US First Lady Jackie Kennedy to an Irish priest, Fr Joseph Leonard, who lived in the college.

It was planned to sell 33 letters for anywhere between €800,000 and €3m, but the sale was abandoned after the Vincentian Fathers asserted ownership over the letters.

A number of parties offered over €20m for the site, but trustees chose a lower bid from DCU as it would continue the institution’s educational ethos.

It is understood the bid consisted a €10m in cash and around €4m to cover the costs of winding down All Hallows, including redundancy payments and the cost of teaching out existing course.

The president of the college, Dr Patrick McDevitt, said: “This sale will secure, as part of the legacy, the educational mission of the campus and facilitate existing students in the completion of their studies.”

All Hallows had been a linked college of DCU since 2004.

According to DCU an “intensive investment programme” will ensure a fully active academic campus from 2016.

“A range of academic schools and support units will be established on the new campus in the first instance, with this increasing over time,” it said in a statement.

“The existing 100 bed student accommodation will be upgraded and plans are underway to develop additional accommodation units to meet the demands of a growing student body.”

All Hallows is one of four institutions in the process of being incorporated into the university. The others are St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Church of Ireland College of Education.

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