An estimated 300 people attended a rally last Sunday afternoon in Clondalkin to protest the construction of a nursing home on the convent site in the village.
The rally was organised by local group Save Clondalkin Convent Campaign, a coalition of residents’ associations and community groups fighting against the plans by developer Bartra to build a four-storey nursing home on the historic site.
Save Clondalkin Convent Campaign say the proposed development will have a very significant negative impact on adjoining schools, residential areas and Clondalkin village traffic should it proceed.
There are also environmental risks to protected species of animals living in the site.
Monica McGill, a spokesperson for the group, told Dublin Gazette she was delighted by the support from the local community shown on Sunday.
“It was amazing to see the Clondalkin community coming together to oppose the Bartra and Presentation Sisters nursing home project that will destroy our Convent,” she said.
“It was a great crowd, thank you so much to everyone who came out to show that we are not going to go away.
“We have also launched a GoFundMe because we are going to need to raise money to pay for the legal fight that lies ahead.”
There was one incident on the day however that wasn’t positive.
“People at the rally tied ribbons to the Convent fence to show their opposition to the sale of the convent.
“By 5.30 on Sunday evening all the ribbons had been removed from the fence by someone.
To the person who did that I’d just like to say that those ribbons represented the opinion of the people who took part in the rally, they don’t agree with the plans of the Presentation Sisters and Bartra.
“People are dismayed someone removed the ribbons so quickly because they showed their intolerance for people’s opinion.
“The ribbons were not offensive, whoever did that has denied people their right to free speech.”
Monica McGill also said she still can’t understand why neither the Presentation Sisters, or the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, will sit down with Save Clondalkin Convent Campaign and talk about things.
“At a “Justice Day” event in November 2019 run by the Presentation Sisters, the Order discussed the exhortation to “spend yourselves for the poor” which are the words of the Presentation Sisters’ foundress, Nano Nagle on her deathbed to her Sisters in religion in the Presentation Order.
“Yet they wont even talk to us, they won’t engage.
“Our Archbishop, who grew up just up the road from us in Ballyfermot won’t engage either.
“With the level of support we have in the local community we are not going to go away.”