Residents hopeful legal action will save the day

By Maurice Garvey

THE campaign to try and prevent the historic convent site in Clondalkin Village from development, may be entering it’s final phase, but residents are hopeful potential legal action could yet save the day.

Plans by Bartra Property Ltd for a 155-bed nursing home on land at the convent grounds, were upheld in November by An Bord Pleanála, despite significant opposition from residents, community groups and local politicians.

Save Convent Choir compressor

Save the Convent Choir in full swing over the Christmas period

Key to the legal avenue being explored, is how the Presentation Sisters came to be the sole owners of the land.

Through their own research, the Save Clondalkin Convent group maintain that following the death of educational pioneer and patron Anne Francis Caldbeck in 1844, her will declared the Archbishop of Dublin and his successors, to be one of the trustees of the convent and the lands.

The Caldweck family sold the convent land to Fr Joe Moore in 1855 - under a bequest in Ms Caldbeck’s will, according to the group.

“It is stated that the Archbishop is a trustee three times in her will,” said Eddie Murphy, a spokesperson for the group.

“We believe that is the basis for a trust. The nuns were one of the orders mentioned in the will, to be invited in to teach poor Roman Catholic children.”

The group forwarded their research to a barrister, to verify if the nuns are in breach of the trust, by selling the land.

“Time is of the essence. It took an awful lot of time and effort to research, but it is really a case of what the barrister says,” said Mr Murphy.

“Regardless of what happens long-term, I cannot understand how the nuns are in possession of the church, carpark and land.

“I would love to know this from the Archbishop. We have asked him several times but have met with a brick wall.”

The group say the Presentation Sisters in Clondalkin and the Presentation Sisters Union – North East Ireland, have also failed to respond to dozens of letters of inquiry.

Throughout the campaign over the last 14 months, the nuns have said they will not be commenting during the planning process.

A rally by the Save Clondalkin Convent group is set to take place on Sunday, January 12, outside Clondalkin’s South Dublin County Council offices at 1pm.

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