Catholic Church and GAA in talks about sale of former Dublin seminary near Croke Park
THE Catholic Church has confirmed it is in "exclusive" talks with the GAA to sell land close to Croke Park stadium in Dublin for the development of housing, sports and hotel facilities.
The Archdiocese of Dublin is in discussions about the proposed sale of the former Holy Cross College Seminary building and adjoining land on Clonliffe Road.
Located opposite Croke Park stadium, the 19th century building has not been used as a seminary since 2000.
But it is a popular spot for GAA fans attending matches with the land used for parking on match days.
The diocese said the upkeep of the building has been a "significant burden on diminishing diocesan resources" and it was "no longer financially sustainable or prudent for the diocese to retain a property of this size and scale, which is no longer fit for its purposes".
"The diocese and the GAA are co-operating closely on plans to ensure the lands and buildings be developed into one of the most significant community projects for the north city in many years, providing housing, jobs and sports facilities," it said.
It is planned to relocate diocesan support services of around 80 people at the college to a smaller, purpose-built pastoral centre.
Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin said it was a "priority for the diocese to ensure the buildings and lands would be used for the benefit of the local community and a legacy for the city of Dublin".
"Subject to planning permissions, it is envisaged the Clonliffe property would include social, affordable and private housing, sports facilities for children and young adults as well as a hotel and commercial opportunities providing employment for people living in the area," he said.
"The GAA and the diocese are committed to providing increased access for the public to landscaped greenways and park facilities.
"The proposed sale of Clonliffe buildings and lands will allow the diocese to reinvest in people-led pastoral programmes as the Church in Dublin looks to different forms of ministry in the coming years.
"This would include investing in vocations and the ongoing formation of lay people and priests."
The sale of the buildings, some of which are listed, and adjoining land "will generate funds which will assist in the training of priests for ministry in the Archdiocese".
The church said the sale and future development "may take months" and the proposed sale was "subject to approval by the Holy See".
The GAA has said talks are "at an advanced stage", but declined to comment until an agreement has been given Vatican approval.