An Bord Pleanala has given permission to property developers Bartra Properties Ltd to develop a 155-bed nursing home on the grounds of Clondalkin Village Convent.

The decision was made late last week after a local resident’s group held a protest in front of the site, calling on the planning authority to refuse permission. ABP’s ruling was originally due in October but was deferred for a month.

The Save Clondalkin Convent campaign, which organised the protest, says that the development will obstruct the 162-year-old convent while also wiping out a scenic green space and a children’s playground which is attached to the nearby primary school, Scoil Mhuire.

Bartra are developing the project in conjunction with the Presentation Sisters order, who claim they own the site. Planning files show that ownership of the lands would be transferred to Bartra if the development is successful.

Over 70 objections to the project had been submitted by local residents, schools and historical groups.

Eddie Murphy, a spokesperson for the group said that they are “very disappointed” and the convent will be “obliterated, inside and out” if construction proceeds.

Murphy says that if ABP’s inspector report – which is due to be published on Wednesday – values the site at over €3.5m, then the Vatican would be forced to step in and decide on whether or not the lands can be developed.

According to Murphy, the Save Clondalkin Convent campaign has contacted Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin in relation to the matter but has yet to receive a response.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Mark Ward says that even though ABP’s decision “was not surprising, it was however extremely disappointing.”

“Everything about this development is negative and is not wanted by the people of Clondalkin.

“It will have a negative impact on the architecture of this ancient village and the overbearing scale of the development will overwhelm the beauty of the Convent and its ground,” he said.

“The current plans also means the closure of the school playground. This is unacceptable.”