Sale of former Clonkeen College playing fields ‘disgusting’– parents

Board of management of opinion transfer of titles for land and sale have not been finalised

The sale of 7.5 acres of land used by Clonkeen College as playing fields is  ‘hugely disappointing’.

The sale of 7.5 acres of land used by Clonkeen College as playing fields is ‘hugely disappointing’.

 

The Christian Brothers’ sale of 7.5 acres of land used by Clonkeen College as playing fields is “disgusting” and “hugely disappointing”, parents and students of the school have said.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton on Wednesday said the land in Deansgrange, owned by the Christian Brothers had been sold to a local property developer.

Mr Bruton said “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 was responding to a parliamentary question from Labour TD Joan Burton.

Jackie O’Neill, a parent with two children in the south Dublin school said she was “absolutely devastated” the congregation had sold the land. Another local parent Paul Murphy said it was a “huge surprise and disappointment”.

Clonkeen College principal Edward Melly said the school and the board of management are still of the opinion the transfer of titles for the land and the sale have not been fully finalised.

The school issued a legal challenge to the Christian Brothers in June stating there was an agreement from 2006 which outlined that the school had use of the lands.

The religious order’s legal representatives responded on July 3rd in a letter that said “our client is very concerned that the adverse claim made by your letter of the 21st of June will delay the closing of the sale of the surplus lands”.

“Our client appreciates that the Board of Management does not want the sale to complete, but it is too late for the sale to be renegotiated or reversed”.

The letter, seen by The Irish Times, rejects the claim made by Clonkeen College that there was a mutual agreement over the use of the playing pitches.

The religious congregation have reportedly agreed an €18 million price with developer Patrick Durkan snr for the land, €10 million of which will be used to fulfil the group’s financial obligations to the State redress scheme for survivors of historical abuse in religious institutions.

Former school principal Dom Twomey, who worked in the school from 1974 to 2012, said in “2006 there was a clear understanding as long as there was a school in Clonkeen the use of the playing field was guaranteed”.

The school management had always been “firmly convinced Clonkeen had full use of the playing fields” he said.

Liam Bradley is a member of the student council at Clonkeen College and is entering 6th year in September.

“I think it’s a complete shambles. It’s disgusting why they need the money, for them to sell our pitches is a betrayal” he said.

“The world is running out of green space, childhood obesity is a big thing, and the Department of Education are talking about it, yet they’re happy to let our pitches be sold. They’re happy to let the Christian Brothers walk all over us” he said.