St Mary of the Angels’ parents’ group urges religious order to reconsider land sale

The religious order who operated St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort for more than three decades is being urged to reconsider plans to sell 110 acres in the area.

In the 1960s, the Doyle family donated their land to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood.

The order built a residential home for children with intellectual disabilities, St Mary of the Angels, which they operated until 2005.

The group representing parents and relatives of residents in the facility is disappointed by the order’s plans to sell the land near the centre.

Fourteen years ago, St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort was fully transferred to St John of God Community Services, which operates the facility for people with special needs.

While the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood were no longer involved with the running of St Mary of the Angels, they retained ownership of 110 acres known as Whitefield Farm, part of the land donated to them by Denis and Mary Doyle.

The Doyles’ daughter Sister Mary Rose is a nun with the order.

A spokesperson for the order says the proceeds of the sale  will provide for the costs of healthcare for its nuns in Ireland, the majority of whom are over the age of 80.

The sale has no impact on St Mary of the Angels which is run by St John of God.

The chair of St Mary of the Angels Parents’ and Relatives’ Association, Jack Fitzpatrick, supports a proposal by Fine Gael election candidate Donie Rua O’Sullivan that the land should go into a trust.

Mr Fitzpatrick believes the sale goes again the intentions of Denis and Mary Doyle.