Council approves €4.5m sale of Mount Anville site in south Dublin for gaelscoil

Three-storey, eight-classroom school possibly to be developed for Gaelscoil Laighean

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on Monday night approved the sale of 1.075 acres at its Mount Anville Depot site in Mount Merrion for €4.5 million to the Department of Education to provide a site for Gaelscoil Laighean.

It will be a multi-denominational gaelscoil.

The sale had been complete "with a view towards the possibility of them [Department] developing a temporary school on the site also, ultimately developing a three-storey, eight-classrooms school on the site," the council's director of services Paul Kennedy told the meeting.

Following a number of briefing sessions for the councillors, which had already taken place, he said he was presenting them “with the updated conditions” councillors “had a part to play in, and we’re putting that before you this evening for decision”.

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When it came to valuation of the site “we have been back and forth on this quite a bit”, he said. “The 2018 valuation did come in at €15 million and then, without the conditions, €3.5 million.” That was according to the City Valuer’s office.

“We went to the Valuations’ Office. They proceeded to carry out a comprehensive valuation that took into account comparative sites across 10 other sites in the area.”

The average across the 10 sites “was within €4.5-€5 million per acre for a site of this nature. We feel we are getting value for money. We’ve got a 40-page document from the Valuations’ Office to back it up,” he said.

He commended the Valuations’ Office “in relation to their work on this” but also pointed out that “things have changed since 2018 and I think the report from the Valuations’ Office takes into account all those factors”.

Cathaoirleach Lettie McCarthy (Labour) spoke of the “great collaboration and co-operation between the [council] members and the management, working with the Department of Education” on the Mount Anville project. “I would like to thank everybody for that,” she said.

Cllr John Kennedy (FG), proposer of the sale, said "parents and teachers of Gaelscoil Laighean have been campaigning vigorously for a new site for a number of years, with their existing temporary premises in Deansgrange no longer available from June".

It was “very good to see the council step up in response and co-operate in accommodating the school. The council will obtain a fair price for the site and it will remain in public ownership to provide a much-needed public good,” he said.

Part of the site at Mount Anville will be allocated to the new school with the remainder being developed for social and affordable housing. “It is important that the site is finally going to be utilised after many years of uncertainty and this will avoid the ongoing situation where a vacant site levy is chargeable in relation to the site,” Cllr Kennedy said.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times