De La Salle brothers’ move raises concerns over complex

By Maurice Garvey

THE last of the De La Salle brothers have moved off the monastery in De la Salle Ballyfermot – amid concerns for the future of the site complex once the school closes in 12 months time.

De La Salle school was the first school to open in Ballyfermot in 1952 with 380 students, but in September, the boys’ primary school will enter its last educational year, containing just two sixth classes.

De La Salle Primary school Ballyfermot 1

De La Salle school in Ballyfermot

When contacted by The Echo, the De La Salle Brothers said the two remaining brothers were “temporarily” moved to St John’s Monastery on Le Fanu Road, after the death in May of Brother Philbert Egan.

The Echo understands the two brothers were moved to St John’s to have some company, and not be left on their own.

Meanwhile, at the Dublin South Central area meeting on Wednesday, July 18, Independent councillor Vincent Jackson, asked Dublin City Council to look at the possibility of buying the complex, which is owned by the Brothers.

Speaking to The Echo, Cllr Jackson said: “There is a huge issue in securing these properties once the school is gone next year. Who is going to maintain them, secure them and pay for this?

“We’ve already had copper theft from the roof last year. It is eerie in the school at the moment, with empty classes and the lack of life.

“It is a substantial site with exceptional value and offers DCC potential for urban regeneration in Ballyfermot.”

Jackson also asked DCC to consider retaining one wing of the school for education through the Irish language.

In response to Cllr Jackson, DCC said: “The Housing and Community Services department is interested in acquiring sites for residential development.

"The city council’s valuation section will continue to represent the Housing and Community Services’ best interests in relation to this site.”

Not tenable

In 2014, plans for De La Salle to amalgamate with St Gabriel’s, St Raphael’s and St Michael’s were deemed “not tenable” by the Archdiocese of Dublin.

This led to the other three schools retaining their students beyond first class from 2015.

Angry parents and teachers protested the decision vigorously at the time, criticising the move for “starving De La Salle out of existence”.

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