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.