Residents rally in opposition to plans for historic convent

By Maurice Garvey

HUNDREDS of residents turned out for a rally on Sunday, in opposition to development plans for the historic convent grounds in Clondalkin village.

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.

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People protesting last Sunday

The rally on Sunday was organised by the Save Clondalkin Convent Campaign group, who have battled for the last 14 months to oppose what they see as the loss of a vital public site and playing pitches for local schools.

The group has met a brick wall with the Archbishop and the Presentation Sisters, and are now pursuing legal action, which is exploring how the Presentation Sisters came to be the sole owners of the land.

“I deeply regret the notion that my Archbishop and the Sisters won’t communicate with us at all, forcing us to consider going to court,” said Monica McGill, a spokesperson for the campaign group.

“We did our own research, the convent and lands were bought and paid for by local money for the express purpose of educating local children and those who require their needs met.”

Following the death of educational pioneer and patron Anne Francis Caldbeck in 1844, the group maintain her will declared the Archbishop of Dublin and his successors to be one of the trustees of the convent and the lands.

Ms McGill said the group have reported the nuns to the Charities Regulator.

“This is not right that they won’t talk to us, and the only thing we get back is riddles.

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Large crowds at the protest 

Nobody wants to go to court. We are only regular people up against the Catholic Church, but our support has grown.

The nuns are proud of their past here, but their future will leave a legacy.”

The planning proposals could see the building of a new 14-bed retirement home for the nuns, beside the proposed 155-bed nursing home.

Ms McGill said residents are saddened that the site and playing pitches could be lost to private ownership, and noted separate plans in place for two further nursing homes nearby.

Appealing for public support on their Facebook page, the group said they need to raise “a further €4,000 towards initial explorations with our barrister.”

Bank details for anyone who can contribute, are listed on the campaign Facebook page, along with updates on how the campaign is going.

They have also set up a GoFundMe page.

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