Christian Brothers in disgraceful sale of school pitches

The Christian Brothers have entered into an agreement to sell more than 70% of the grounds of Clonkeen College, Deansgrange, (supposedly to the building group Durkans), for residential development. This will leave the school without even 1 full size pitch for their numerous and successful GAA and soccer teams, and right towards the end of a large building project at the school that will allow a 10% increase in numbers.

News of this development came as a complete shock to staff, board of management, pupils, parents and local residents, some of whom were in tears at at public meeting called at the school last night to hear about and launch opposition to this development .

The proposal appears to be that the CB sell 7.5 acres to Durkans for €17m, use €10m of the money towards the abuse redress scheme, give €1.4 million to the school as a sop towards the loss of their pitches (which the school had recently spent €0.5m on to improve after fundraising), and pocket the rest. The school is left with 3.5 acres, which seems ok, but in fact counts areas at the back of the school already developed as hard courts etc. It has also been suggested that 5 acres is required for a proper full size pitch and surrounds.

As many have pointed out, the pupils of this generation and future generations will now be paying for the CB’s historic abuse with the loss of their playing field which will be gone for ever, if this scheme is allowed to occur. A direct quotation from the CB, in an emergency meeting with the school, was that they had taken “no consideration” of the school and pupils in deciding on the sale.

This proposal brings into sharp relief the treachery and conniving of the CB to avoid their responsibilities to the State, to the school and to the local community and the abject greed of Durkans to even contemplate building on such a site. It also suggests the possible involvement of the Department of Education in sanctioning this move according to some reports, and this scheme could set a dangerous precedent for building on other privately owned lands that are in public use.

According to reports, the school, parents and local residents are launching a major lobbying campaign to oppose this scheme. Let’s hope that they succeed.

It’s private property. The Christian Brothers can sell it if they wish.
If the parents feel so strongly about it, then they can set up their own school or buy the land.

itll be blackrock when durkan start developing 8DD

Well apart from the obvious difficulty for parents in raising €17 or 18m to buy the land, they weren’t presented with an option to buy the land, or even knew that the land was going to be sold, due to the secret negotiations with Durkans. But more pertinently the Christian Brothers had stated on several occasions in the past that the playing fields would be available to the school as long as the school existed so it was never even a question in the minds of the school or parents. The school had raised half a million to improve the pitches on that basis in the last 2-3 years. This is an unprecedented situation, and a religious order, funded in the past by public donations and with a non-profit charter, is not exactly a “private” organisation.

Also the school is currently in the final stages of a large €multi-million extension so talking about setting up a new school is nonsensical and its a public school by the way.

I would have loved to have gone to a school that was denied the opportunity to inflict sport on me. :frowning:

That would be true! And in fact the formal postal address for Deansgrange is Deansgrange, Blackrock.

But I think Durkans may have bitten off more than they can chew in the opposition that they are going to see to this move.

It’s almost as if the state should own and run its own schools…

Actually, they will be paying for Bertie Aherne’s historic abuse. The redress board was set up with public money, no obligation on religious organisations to contribute to it, and no adversarial legal process for claimants. Basically, anybody could say they were in an institution and claim €60,000. One and a half billion euro and a financial crash later, the government is now trying to smear the religious organisations as not holding up their end of an agreement they never entered into. In the face of this unbelievable folly and the total inability of the religious organisations to defend themselves, my personal opinion is that they should tell the State to go fuck itself, however that’s clearly not what the public are calling for judging by the Vincent’s hospital outcry. On the other hand, it’s a bit rich to be whinging about redress board contributions and also crying over the loss of assets that will go to pay for them.

How’s that, exactly?

I’d prefer to see them realise the illogic of their position.

Seems to me like it is a sly move by the CB to intimate that if the State goes after them, they will have to sell public assets.
Locals scream foul, the state backs off and everyone is a winner right?

That is a complete lie and unconscionably offensive to thousands of people who suffered horrors that most of us can not even imagine.

Eh, last week people were screaming for orders to sell their land backs to pay compensation? Do they have other assets?

There is also the following.

The pitches are currently used exclusively by teenage boys for field sports, most of which they will not pursue when they have left school.

They are also vacant - but unavailable for local use presumably - for 95% of daylight hours.

Is this the socially optimal use of the land?

I’ll ignore the first part of your post which sounds very much like an apologia for institutional abuse. Many would say that they got off lightly.

**Treachery **- the CBs told the school on repeated occasions that they will have the use of the lands “as long as the school remains a school”.

Based on this committment:

the State, ie taxpayers, have poured €10m into a school extension to allow take on more pupils, assuming there would be outdoor PE/sports facilities available to complement indoor facilities
the school and parents raise €0.5 million and carry out extensive remedial work on the pitches. That’s a lot of bag-packing.
The school builds a special needs unit and invests in some outdoor sports surfaces for these that will be in danger of being ripped up again to restore some area of grass pitch if all the existing grass area is to go

Then without talking to the board of management, staff or parent the CBs announce the sale as a fait accompli.


The CBS seem to have worked on this deal in secret with the developers and Department of Education. Reports state that of the 18m sale proceeds, 10m go the State for redress, 1.4 m as a sop to the school and the rest into the back pocket of the CBs. The deal is also in breach of the CB’s own charter to put the interests of students first.

This thought has crossed my mind. However suddenly announcing this sale coming up to exam time, and when the school is nearing the end of a long building project, and to the tears of 13 and 14 year olds losing their GAA and soocer pitches, would mark a new low in the negotiating tactic of a “Christian” organisation.

I assume that the CBs have lots of empty monasteries/office buildings that they could sell before selling school pitches. And cut down on their junkets to Rome etc.

In fact Clonkeen College would have no objection to losing a portion of their lands, if all CB-owned schools shared the load. But not to stand for more than 70% of the grounds of one school to be taken. Actually I now think that the school building footprint is about 2 acres, leaving the school only 1.5ac to cover all outdoor areas including paths and yards. There will be no room for any reasonably sized outdoor pitch. This in a school planned to cater for 600 teenage boys on their premises.

Alternative headline:

Clonkeen College gifted €9m by Christian Brothers including €7.5m of land and €1.3m for sports and other developments.

While financial difficulties and the continued decline of the Catholic Church means the Christian Brothers no longer have the resources to continue to allow free usage of 7.5 acres of prime development land around the school, they believe this charitable donation will help safeguard the future of Clonkeen College in the absence of further state funding.


The major sports at Clonkeen are GAA and soccer and the school has supplied several Dublin county footballers and some soccer internationals, but that is beside the point.

The pitches are in use **every school day **to provide outdoor PE facilities as they cannot cater for numbers indoors. Physical exercise is an essential part of a healthy school curriculum. Then there is the incalculable value of team sports. Teenagers nowadays have major self-image problems caused by social media pressures and physical exercise and competitive and non-competitive team bonding help to build confidence as well as the obvious health benefits.

Many people continue to play casual 5 a side soccer long after they have left school. I know that I did. And in fact the plan was that there was going to be an all-weather facility built at Clonkeen with the assistance of DLR with public access which would have served the wider community at large including local clubs like Granada, Park Celtic, Cuala etc who are short on facilities. The CBs sat on approving this plan for the grounds, we now can see why.

This is SCD low-rise suburbia developed in the 50s and 60s, not Victorian Rathmines or the Coombe.

Is the surrounding area short of open patches of grass for teenage boys to kick balls on?

A quick perusal of google maps suggests not.

Junkets to Rome? That’ll do it. Sorry for questioning

Is the “gift” offset against the instalment to the state though?
Kind of like having the option of donating your taxes to your favourite charity instead of the state.