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Thursday 23 November 2017

Legal action threat as Clonkeen pitch row deadline nears

Clonkeen College. Photo: Arthur Carron
Clonkeen College. Photo: Arthur Carron

A battle over the future of playing fields at a Dublin secondary school is expected to rumble on following today's deadline concerning legal action.

The board of management of Clonkeen College in Deansgrange is determined to fight moves by the Christian Brothers to sell off more than six acres of playing pitches.

The religious order signed an €18m contract to sell the land to a developer for houses and apartments.

Demanding

The board sent a 12-page legal letter to the religious order on June 21 demanding that they acknowledge by 5pm today that there was an agreement in 2006, in which representatives of the order indicated the lands would not be sold as long as the school remained a school.

A spokesman for the Christian Brothers said that "notwithstanding a tight turn-around in the context of a very detailed legal correspondence, the congregation is expected to reply within the timeframe".

But the order's "consistent position" has been that "no such understanding existed" that the lands would not be sold, said the spokesman.

He added that "this was reflected in contemporaneous notes of meetings from the time and in subsequent licensing agreements".

The letter sent to the religious order on behalf of seven members of the school's board of management declared that the board received assurances from senior members of the order in 2008 that, apart from a relatively small area of school land, the playing pitches would not be sold.

Honour

Unless the Christian Brothers acknowledged in writing by 5pm today that they would honour such undertakings, the board members warned that High Court proceedings would be issued "without further notice" to ensure the school retained use of the fields for its students.

Deputy principal Michael Brennan said yesterday that a further 3.5 acres of land which the religious order stated would remain available to the school for sports facilities was "completely inadequate".

The order seeks to use €10m from the sale of the land to pay to the State Redress Scheme to compensate abuse victims.

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