Huge amount of work must be done on De La Salle site

By Maurice Garvey

WHAT becomes of the De La Salle land in Ballyfermot was to the fore at public meetings, and will remain a divisive topic for some time to come, reports Maurice Garvey.

The new owner of the site met with Dublin City Council to discuss potential plans for apartments last week.

Wide front building

De La Salle building

At a policing meeting, Dublin City Council area manager Kay Noonan said a “huge amount of work has to be done” prior to the possibility of any building works commencing.

During the meeting with the developer, Ms Noonan said “it was made clear to them that nothing will happen without consultation taking place with residents.”

She said DCC asked the De La Salle Brothers to put security on site in the aftermath of the arson attacks, but “can’t say how long security will be in place.”

The sizeable land includes De La Salle school and the now vacant monastery.

Many in the community are angry at recent arson attacks on the monastery, and fear for the future of the prominent site, which is situated in the heart of the community.

The De La Salle Brothers sold the land to a private developer but leased it back for the school year.

The Echo understands the Brothers thought they were just leasing back the school, and not the monastery site aswell, which has been subjected to repeat vandal attacks.

Cllr Daithí Doolan said it was his understanding that DCC were willing to match the developer’s bid last year.

He welcomed talks between the city council and the developer, and believes the local authority need to buy the land if it becomes available.

Cllr Doolan said: “I firmly believe the land must be bought by DCC and developed for the community to ensure social and affordable housing, services and shops.

“I have put down an emergency motion for Monday’s council meeting calling on DCC to buy the land. DCC management have agreed to meet with local residents to discuss future plans for De La Salle on Wednesday, February 6, in Ballyfermot Resource Centre.”

Cllr Hazel De Nortúin, a member of local interest group ‘Keep Ballyfermot’, said residents met on Tuesday night (January 29) to discuss proposals for their campaign to keep the De La Salle buildings in community use.

“One of two proposals put to the floor were a sustainability study of Ballyfermot to give us an idea of what level services are at and how an influx of houses would effect that,” she said.

“Members also agreed to support an emergency motion to put the buildings on the list of protected structures - a reserved function of councillors. We would need two thirds of councillors’ support with the view of ensuring we can keep some culture and heritage in the area for future generations.”

A DCC spokesperson told The Echo they did not bid for the De La Salle property last year but approached church authorities in early 2018 when they heard that the monastery might be for sale.

“(DCC) expressed our interest in purchasing it for use as a potential homeless family hub. We understand at that stage there may have already been a move to sell the entire property privately so our approach was not followed up.

“There is no indication that the property might again become available for sale, therefore the question of DCC purchasing it does not arise.”

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