Former pupils of a disused school in Glasnevin are concerned that the building – which is over 150 years old – may be demolished after it was put up for sale.
The former model school on Church Avenue will be up for auction on November 6th, where the description lists the building as a ‘magnificent opportunity for redevelopment’ and that it’s in a ‘prime residential and commercial location’.
It is currently owned by the Office of Public Works (OPW).
It was originally opened in 1847, with a large number of Glasnevin locals attending primary school in the building throughout the years.
It was one of the first schools built after Catholic Emancipation as part of the ‘model system’ which later collapsed.
The building remained in use as a national school, and a number of locals from the area spent their primary school years in the building. It has been known as a number of names, including Sacred Heart National School.
Most recently the building housed the Glasnevin Educate Together National School until January 2017, before they moved to a purpose-built school on Griffith Avenue.
The entirety of the site measures at over 16 hectares and is bordered by Bon Secours Hospital, and is adjacent to Met Eireann HQ.
Former pupil of the school, James Heron, said that local residents and past pupils of the Educate Together national school housed in the building have said they believe the school building should be reopened for new students.
Heron told Dublin Gazette: “It was one of the first model schools, built circa 1850 we believe. Remarkably, it is not on the list of protected structures, though I feel it should be.
“I really do think it’s insane that this building – a famine school from the 19th century – is not a protected building. It’s something that a lot of people around Glasnevin hold dear, I think.
“At a time when schools are being closed for structural defects, it just seems bizarre that they’re selling off a perfectly good school building that might be demolished.”
Under the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022, the Church Avenue site has been zoned as Z1, meaning its purpose is ‘to protect, provide and improve residential amenities’.
In a statement to Dublin Gazette, the OPW said that the old school building is being sold as it is ‘surplus to requirement’.
A spokesperson for the OPW said: “The property was evaluated in line with the Office of Public Works disposals policy (attached) and there was no alternative State use identified, including the education sector, Dublin City Council and the HSE.
“As such the property was deemed surplus to requirements and a decision was taken to place the property on the open market.
“The future use of the property will be determined by the new owner and the planning process.”