Educate Together school plans delayed

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The State is paying for building projects worth €90m to Christian Brothers Schools due to the current five-year school building programme.

Schools under the religious order are expecting to receive €60m in the next five years. This is on top of €30m which has already been spent on finished projects or ones near completion.

The announcement of the State pay-out comes amid rows over the handover of a Christian Brothers school on Basin Lane to the multi-denominational Educate Together.

Plans for the opening of a new multi-denominational primary school on Basin Lane have been delayed over legal complications.

Two primary schools located on Basin Lane in the Dublin 8 area are to merge, leaving the property of the former Christian Brothers school free for the Educate Together project.

The Department of Education has called for the Christian Brothers to hand over the building to the Educate Together group, so that building can commence on the new school. However, it came to light on Friday that the religious order is restricted by the charter of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust.

Due to damages from incidents of institutional abuse, the Christian Brothers still owe the State millions of euro in compensation.

Nevertheless, the charter, which was created five years ago when the trust was established, means that the trust can use its assets for the betterment of Catholic education only.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who is also the school patron of the former Christian Brothers school and the board of management, already agreed to the transfer plan. However, according to the trust, it cannot simply give away property for less than its commercial value.

The property is now of interest to several parties who may wish to purchase the building, including the Department of Education. Fr. Brian Mernagh of the Liberty Citizens Information Centre said that local community groups want to buy the building and use it for the residents of the wider community.

It was hoped that the new multi-denominational school would facilitate the overflow of applicants to the area’s only other school of its kind, Griffith Barracks Primary School.

The recent problems with the transfer of this school were announced on the closing date for the completion of surveys regarding multi-denominational forms of patronage.

The Department of Education will use these surveys to determine the opinions of parents over the transfer of Catholic-run schools to other forms of patronage. Parents will also be asked for their views on same-sex schools and Irish-language education.

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