Parents and staff at a secondary school in Co Dublin have expressed what they say is unanimous support for the school's board of management.

At a press conference today, they said they were distressed and concerned by a decision by the patron of Clonkeen College to dissolve the board.

The Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) has sought permission to dissolve the school board over what it says is serious concern at legal action the school is pursuing against the Christian Brothers.

Clonkeen College is challenging a decision by the Christian Brothers to sell a large portion of the school's playing fields.

The ERST has accused board members of showing poor governance and a failure to act in the best interests of ERST schools.

At the school today, staff members said they fully supported the board which they said was taking action to safeguard the school environment and work in the interests of all the school community.

Parents said they were completely and utterly dismayed by the actions of ERST. They said they had no confidence that ERST was acting in the school's best interests.

In a statement the school's Parents' Association said it stood firmly with its board of management, who had displayed huge personal courage and fortitude.

The school's board of management said it found it disturbing that ERST was commenting on and issuing statements related to legal proceedings to which it is not a party.

In a statement, the board said members were devastated by the accusations that ERST had made. It said they had been accused of poor governance for trying to protect the interests and well-being of students present and future.

ERST was established by the Christian Brothers ten years ago, as an independent trust to run its 96 primary and secondary schools including Clonkeen College.

Its Chairperson is Mr Justice Peter Kelly, who is also President of the High Court.

In a statement issued last week ERST said it had been advised that if the pending legal challenge failed, costs of up to €1 million could be incurred.

It said it was possible that the board of management of the school could become liable for some of those costs, putting the viability of the school at risk.

It said it had serious concerns over actions being pursued by "some board members". It said legislation allowed a trustee to dissolve a school board if it was satisfied that the functions of a board were not being effectively discharged.

It is highly unusual for a patron to move to dissolve a school board, and it needs sanction from the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton to do so.

Last Friday, the Minister said he needed to hear from all sides, and would be taking the time and the space to weigh up the matter and make an informed decision.

Today the school asked Mr Bruton to "do the right thing" and back the school.