The Redemptorist Community in Galway have announced that they are to end their presence in Esker, Athenry later this year.

Fr Brendan Callanan, Superior, said the decision was taken following an ongoing review for the past number of years.

He said the lack of vocations was a reality that had severely impacted the religious order.

"When I joined the Redemptorists in Galway in the 1960's I was one of 85 students. We now have just one student in the country. We have had just one ordination in the last ten years.

"It’s a sad time for us amid a massive upheaval, but it’s difficult to sustain our missionary commitments"

There are now just 12 Redemptorists in the Esker community which oversees the running of a church, retreat centre and youth village. Eight of those members are over 80 years old, including one centenarian.

The Esker community will be redeployed to bigger centres around the country.

There are bigger redemptorist houses in Limerick, Dundalk and Belfast as well as smaller ones in Dublin and Cork.

The Redemptorists have been in Ireland for over a hundred years where their main work is preaching – through parish missions, novenas and retreats.

There are currently no details of future plans for the Esker facility.