25 of 33 schools in Dublin Rathdown have lands zoned as residential

Commenting on recent announcements of the sales of land at Our Lady’s Grove, Goatstown and Clonkeen College, Blackrock Green Party Deputy Leader and TD for Dublin Rathdown Catherine Martin said: “The recent announcement of the sales of land at both Our Lady’s Grove and Clonkeen College by their respective congregations have brought to the fore the issue of educational planning in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. It is a stark indication of a lack of future planning and joined-up thinking on the part of the Department of Education and Skills. The community and their future needs are not being put first.

“Minister Bruton needs to work closely with the Local Authority to provide greater protection for the open space requirements of institutional lands in the County. He also needs to work with Minister for Housing Simon Coveney to ensure that there is joined-up thinking in the provision of urgently needed new housing in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, while at the same time protecting the need for new and expanding schools in light of anticipated population growth in the area. The essential requirement of corresponding infrastructure provisions does not seem to feature at all and this defies planning logic and in essence is anti-community.

“25 primary schools in Dublin Rathdown alone are zoned as residential – this simply becomes unsustainable if an avalanche of land being sold off for residential purposes is permitted. An urgent local conversation followed immediately by protective, decisive action needs to happen. There needs to be a strong plan in place to provide assurances that educational needs in the County, both present and future needs, will be taken care of.”

Green Party Councillor for Dún Laoghaire Ossian Smyth acknowledged “that it would be wrong to punish the current and future generations of children at Clonkeen College for the sins perpetrated by the Christian Brothers on a previous generation. The religious should now transfer their lands directly to the state and should not try to profiteer while seeking forgiveness for their past behaviour.”

Green Party Councillor for Dundrum Karen Furlong said: “In this constituency over the past few years significant tranches of school lands have been sold for housing in Milltown, Stillorgan, Goatstown and Churchtown. There is not a huge amount left. Minister Bruton is sleepwalking us in to an educational crisis in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. I spend a lot of time speaking to worried parents about whether their kids will get places and what facilities their schools have. We know there is a shortage of schools in the area yet we are allowing the sale of lands like this without thinking of the consequences. I understand religious communities are aging and will need care but do we really need to pit their needs against those of our children? Surely with a little bit of planning and goodwill we could arrive at solutions that would be good for all?”