The principal of a south Dublin school has expressed disappointment that the trustees of his school, the Edmund Rice Schools' Trust (ERST), only informed the school of plans to sell off adjacent playing fields earlier this month, even though they knew of the plans for around a year.

According to Edward Melly, principal of Clonkeen College, the school was told of the sale of the 7.5 acres of land at a meeting with representatives of ERST and of the Christian Brother's congregation on 3 May.

The land is owned by the Christian Brothers and is being sold by them in order to meet the final €10m instalment of the organisation's financial commitments to the State.

An agreement between the Christian Brothers and the ERST, which runs Clonkeen College, will see 3.5 acres of the playing field area retained by the school.

The ERST was established by the Christian Brothers in 2008. All of the brothers' school buildings, as well as control over the running of those schools, were transferred to the trust at that time.

The aim of the trust is "to further the aims and purposes of Catholic education in the Edmund Rice tradition".

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, is the Chairman of ERST.

Mr Melly said the school was appealing to the Christian Brothers to reverse its decision to sell the land, which will see the school lose two thirds of its recreational grounds.

He said the school's Board of Management, half of whom are appointed by ERST, were united in their opposition to the move.

Mr Melly said the college was a non fee-charging school, which catered for boys from a variety of backgrounds, including working class backgrounds.

Earlier, the Christian Brothers congregation said the land sale deal will leave the school with recreational facilities that are superior to those enjoyed by most schools of a comparable size.

Clonkeen College will receive a donation of €1.3 million from the proceeds of the sale. One million of this will be used to develop an all-weather sports facility.

At a public meeting last night, parents and teachers at Clonkeen College expressed anger and upset at news of the land sale.

A spokesperson for the Christian Brothers said an additional €4m would be given to the ERST trust, which runs the country's 95 Christian Brother schools, as compensation for the fact the ERST has to vacate its current premises.

The remaining €10m will be given to the State in order to fulfill commitments made by the congregation under the State's redress scheme for survivors of institutional child abuse.

Referring to this, Mr Melly said the school community felt Clonkeen College was being unfairly targetted.

Contracts for sale have been agreed between the Christian Brothers and a local home builder.