Christian Brothers sell former Clonkeen College playing fields
Order says sale is necessary to discharge €10m debt to redress board for child abuse
Clonkeen College principal Edward Melly. The school was unaware of ongoing negotiations between the Christian Brothers and a local developer on the sale of the playing fields. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The Christian Brothers have sold the 7.5 acres of land that was previously used as playing pitches by Clonkeen College in south Dublin.
It emerged last month that the school had been told on May 3rd a “legally binding” contract had been entered into with local homebuilder Patrick Durkan snr, to sell the playing fields for a reported €18 million.
Negotiations for the sale had been ongoing for 12 months, without the school’s knowledge.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton on Wednesday confirmed the land has been sold in response to a parliamentary question from Labour TD Joan Burton.
“The congregation has confirmed that the position is that the lands have been sold, that it has signed and exchanged legally binding contracts with the purchasers and that the Congregation cannot reverse this transaction,” he said.
Last month the board of management at the school sent a legal letter to the religious order demanding that it acknowledge 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.
The Christian Brothers have said the sale is necessary to discharge their debt of €10 million to the redress board for historical abuse of children who had been in their care and for the future support of ageing brothers.
The sale was “not an easy decision” but was taken having made very substantial provision for the college’s reasonable future needs, they added.