A congregation of nuns in Dublin has defended its decision to sell land attached to two schools in south Dublin.

The Sisters of Jesus and Mary says it is selling the five-acre site adjacent to the Goatstown Road because it is surplus to their requirements.

The nuns say the sale of the land is close to completion.

They say income from the sale will be used to support other ministries, including overseas missions and the ongoing care of sisters, many of whom would have taught in the two schools.

Parents of children attending the schools, Our Lady's Grove primary school and Jesus and Mary College, are holding a public meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the sale.

They say the schools will be left with no green space and no room to expand in the future.

The students used to use the land that is now for sale for sporting activities.

The nuns say they will fund a new astro-turf hockey pitch for the secondary school at a cost of €600,000.

The estate agent conducting the sale says the land would be suitable for between 70 to 80 homes; a mix of houses and apartments.

In a letter to parents, the Board of Management of Our Lady's Grove primary school says the religious order sought unconditional support from the board for a planning application related to the sale.

The letter says that the board "could not offer" this.

It says the Sisters and their representatives "have not been open and transparent" with the board, and has accused the order of "unexpected and unilateral" changes during negotiations aimed at ensuring that a non commercial childcare facility would remain on the site.