herald

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Four acres of land saved for pupils in school deal with Christian Brothers

The Christian Brothers had proposed to sell seven acres
The Christian Brothers had proposed to sell seven acres

Almost four acres of disputed land at a south Dublin secondary school will be retained for sports use by its pupils.

A High Court action over the Christian Brothers' plans to sell the lands at Clonkeen College to builders for €18m has been settled. The school's board of management had sued the congregation to retain the playing fields for as long as the school remains in operation.

Facilities

Yesterday, it was announced an agreement had been reached and the religious order would donate "almost four acres of land" to the Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) - the body responsible for 96 Christian Brothers schools across the country.

This will "ensure first-class sports facilities at Clonkeen College," a joint statement said.

"The development of adjoining lands can now proceed, facilitating planned funding of school facilities by the Christian Brothers," it added.

The congregation had opposed the attempt to stop the sale and denied the board members' claims the proposed deal would adversely affect the Deansgrange-based 520-pupil school.

The case returned before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart yesterday when James Dwyer SC, for the board members, said the case had been resolved and could be struck out.

Peter Bland SC, for the congregation, said the strike out was on consent. No details of the settlement were given to the court.

The judge also made a number of preliminary rulings in the case. The plaintiffs challenged a €18m deal which involved the congregation selling seven acres of the playing fields to builder Patrick Durkan Snr.

Under the deal, the school was to receive €1.3m and retain one area for use as a playing pitch, which the board says is unsuitable. The plaintiffs claimed they were kept in the dark over the deal.

They claimed the sale breached a 2006 agreement with the congregation whose terms included that the playing fields would remain available for the school.

They sought declarations including that the school is entitled to the continued use of the playing fields as long as it remains in operation.

They also sought an order restraining the disposal of the playing fields and that the purported 2006 agreement be specifically performed. The congregation denied entering into any agreement in 2006, as alleged. If there had been any such agreement, they also claimed, it was null and void.

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