Principal; Sale of Clonkeen College playing fields would be 'devasting'

Update 2.25pm: The principal of a south side Dublin school says it would be "devastating" if its playing fields have been sold.

Despite objections from staff and parents, it's reported land at Clonkeen College in Deansgrange has been sold by the Christian Brothers who say they need the money for a compensation scheme for abuse victims.

However, Principal Edward Melly is still hopeful it can be stopped as the school have not received any notification that the sale has gone through.

"One of the things we've been told is that this deal needs to go through the charity regulatory authority and we don't have any confirmation this has happened," said Mr Melly.

Speaking following the publication of a Parliamentary Question answer by Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education and Skills that confirmed the Christian Brothers Congregation had advised his department that they have sold land used as playing pitches by students at Clonkeen College.

Dún Laoghaire councillor Cormac Devlin said that the Department of Education and Skills is currently engaged in negotiations with the Christian Brothers Congregation surrounding the transfer of up to €127m worth of property to discharge their obligations to the Redress Scheme.

“It is very disappointing the Minister allowed this sale to proceed. Just last week, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council debated the issue, agreeing a cross party motion calling on the Minister to intervene and retain this land for educational and recreational use," he said.

Cllr Devlin said that the Minister recently told the Dáil that he was reasonably confident that there were other assets the Congregation could dispose of to realise its remaining redress contribution.

"The sale of this land was unnecessary. This land should not have been sold. Essential school lands must be safeguarded for future generations," said Cllr. Devlin.

"The Minister should clarify whether the sale is "subject to planning or zoning" so we can know, even at this late stage, if the deal can be reversed",he added.

Earlier: Playing pitches at a south Dublin school, which were controversially put on the market, have been sold.

Parents and staff at Clonkeen College in Deansgrange had tried to block the sale of the 7.5 acres for housing.

The Christian Brothers said they needed to raise money for a compensation scheme for survivors of abuse.

Local politicians unsuccessfully tried to have the land rezoned so it could only be used for recreational purposes.

However, the Education Minister Richard Bruton has confirmed in the Dáil the sale has gone through and cannot be reversed.

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