Convent lands 'a great opportunity to improve facilities' for pupils
St Brigid's National School in Greystones has welcomed the finalisation of the purchase of the convent lands next to the school.
The Department of Education has now fully completed the process of purchasing the site, two years after it went on the market.
The school, the board of management and many in the Greystones community have been campaigning for the department to purchase the building and lands for a number of years as it is located next to the school, which has limited space.
'St Brigid's School is delighted that the purchase of the former Holy Faith Convent has been completed,' said the board of management in a statement.
'It is a great opportunity to improve facilities for the pupils.'
They said that the school will work with all interested parties to bring the property into use as quickly as possible.
'The board wishes to acknowledge the support of the Holy Faith Order and public representatives, in particular Minister Simon Harris, and look forward to their continued support in the future.'
In confirming that the Department of Education had completed the purchase of the convent lands last week, Minister Harris described the move as 'excellent news for the school' and something that 'will be very much welcomed by the whole community'.
'I now look forward to working with the school on plans for the building,' he said.
The site went on the market in September 2015, with a deal reached with the department in October of that year.
St Brigid's NS was in need of land, with its space per student just one-quarter of the department's guidelines. Due to this, children can't run, break-times must be phased and sports facilities are limited at the school.
The Holy Faith Order told the school earlier in 2015 that it planned to sell the convent and the adjoining 0.6 acres.
Deputy Stephen Donnelly said that he, along with the board of management, communicated with the Minister and senior Department officials in a bid to secure public money to purchase the building and land for the school.
The convent lands were due to be sold at auction on by Savill's in Buswells Hotel in Dublin on October 7, 2015, but on the evening of October 6, Savill's contacted interested bidders to inform them that the auction was cancelled.
Speaking the following day, Deputy Donnelly said: 'I spoke with Savill's this morning and they have confirmed to me that the department has gone sale agreed on the land. I'm delighted with this last minute deal, which will come as a huge relief to the children, to their parents, and to the entire town. Huge credit must go to the school principal, Sr Kathleen, and to the Board of Management, chaired by Mr Tom Sherlock.'
The convent was built in 1845 under the watchful eye of Rev Nicholas Donnelly, who was the parish priest of Bray and Greystones at that time. In 1903, the order took responsibility for the building and remained there until quite recently. The property is on over half-an-acre and is located between Kimberley Road and Trafalgar Road. The floor space on the first floor has been changed over the years and is now segmented into dormitory style rooms that were used for visiting nuns over the years.