The Bishop of Ferns has threatened to close a Co Wexford national school because of ongoing "unrest and staff relation problems" which have caused tensions for years.

Bishop Ger Nash has taken over as interim manager of Cushinstown National School after the last board of management was dissolved and attempts made to establish a new board before Christmas were unsuccessful.

In a statement to RTÉ News, the bishop described the situation as "unprecedented" and said he is "actively working to bring about a resolution".

The mixed school in the west of the county has over 200 pupils and 10 classrooms but the ongoing problems have affected morale among staff, parents and students.

Bishop Nash said in a letter to parents that while there is "much good work" going on in Cushinstown school, problems remain "and that is not good for pupils, parents and staff".

He told the parents that every effort will again be made to try and resolve the ongoing issues. "If these efforts fail, everything will be on the table," he warned.

He said: "If I have no governance or management structure, then I will have to look at other possible options including divestment of patronage and/or closure of Cushinstown school.

"This is certainly not what I wish for, but I know that we cannot continue indefinitely with the situation."

An outside manager, former school principal, and deputy CEO of the Irish Primary Principals' Network, Pat Goff, was appointed last June for six months but Bishop Nash confirmed that he has recently accepted Mr Goff's resignation.

A trained mediator was also appointed as part of a "procedure to address staff relations difficulties," but this process failed to achieve a resolution, as did attempts by Mr Goff to get the parties involved to agree a framework for resolution.

The bishop said that "unrest and staff relation problems" in the school have been ongoing "for quite a number of years" but recent years have seen the situation "deteriorate".

RTÉ News has attempted to make contact with the principal of the school, Carol O'Reilly.

Ms O'Reilly told the New Ross Standard this week that the bishop's letter has "provoked upset in the community" but she had no prior information about its contents when she was asked by the Bishop, who is patron of the school, to circulate it to parents.

She said there are "ongoing procedures with the school" to address long-running difficulties.

She said: "My own relationship with many of the staff here is very, very good. I came in as a new principal into the school and I am working well with the staff and the parents who come to me if they have a concern".

The principal said she had to introduce changes "that were required under Department of Education circulars and directions" when she was appointed to the post some years ago.

A spokesman for the Irish National Teachers' Organisation said it doesn't comment on individual cases.