Department in talks to buy multi-million euro Goatstown site for schools

Site for primary and secondary schools likely to be among most expensive in country

A satellite view of a 9.5 acre site in Goatstown that was  formerly an Irish Glass Bottle recreational facilities. Photograph: Google Maps

A satellite view of a 9.5 acre site in Goatstown that was formerly an Irish Glass Bottle recreational facilities. Photograph: Google Maps

 

The Department of Education is in advanced talks to purchase a multimillion euro site in the Goatstown area of south Dublin for a new primary and secondary school.

While the department declined to confirm the location of the site, informed sources say it is the former Irish Glass Bottle site, bought in 2003 by property developers Sean Dunne and Seán Mulryan for a reported €18 million. If sold for in excess of this sum, it could make it one of the most expensive school sites in the country.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh confirmed that the department has reached “agreement in principle” for a site in the Goatstown area, subject to the views of planning authorities. It is intended that it will host a 16-classroom Educate Together primary school and an 800-pupil secondary school. The 10-acre site, which has not been in use for more than a decade, fronts on to Goatstown Road, about 200m from the Taney Road junction.

Publicly accessible

It is zoned for “open space with active recreational amenities”, which requires that the bulk of the land should be set aside for publicly accessible open space or playing fields.

In 2015, Mr Dunne’s 50 per cent interest in the site was offered for sale at a guide price of €7.5 million. Land registry records indicate that the entire site was registered in Mr Dunne’s first wife Jennifer Coyle’s name as of last June.

In August last year, records indicate that ownership was transferred to companies linked to a major Dublin-based property development firm for an undisclosed sum.

An Educate Together primary school is due to open in temporary accommodation in Goatstown this September. Junior infants at the school are due to be enrolled in 2019.

Local Fine Gael councillor Barry Saul held an open meeting earlier this week over the future use of the Irish Glass Bottle site.

While there has been no official confirmation, he said locals would welcome the arrival of a school campus in State ownership over previous proposals such as student apartments or a cemetery.

Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said he was “delighted that a much-needed national school is on the way” .

Green Party TD Catherine Martin criticised Fine Gael politicians for “drip-feeding” important information about the school over social media.

The most expensive school site to date purchased by the the department is the former greyhound stadium in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, which was purchased by the department for €23 million in 2017.

It provides permanent accommodation for a primary and secondary school on the land.