Religious orders and selling land

Sir, – Tony Fahey argues that religious orders are entitled to dispose of their property in the same manner as any other property owner ("Ireland's religious orders earned their wealth", June 9th). Taken from a commercial perspective this seems like a reasonable argument but then religious orders never before claimed to be commercial organisations. In the past they always claimed to do things for the greater glory of God and the benefit of society and were usually granted charitable status by the State. Selling school playing fields, no matter how they were acquired, can hardly be regarded as a benefit to society. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.


Sir, – If all the religious schools in the towns and cities of Ireland were to simultaneously sell their playing fields and other sporting facilities for housing development, as they are apparently entitled to do, chaos would ensue as the schoolchildren of Ireland would be immediately deprived of the resources to keep healthy and fit. Perhaps we need a national study of the vulnerabilities in Irish society in the areas of health, education and social services resulting from many decades of allowing religious orders to control key aspects of society. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 4.