The Bishop of Meath, Tom Deenihan, has defended his decision to sell the land donated to the diocese by a deceased Ashbourne man Ned Nulty.

In a statement, seen by Meath Live, diocesan Chancellor Fr Paul Connell, claimed that as a registered charity the parish must use the land for the purposes of which the charity was established.

He clarified, ‘ It was for this reason the lands were sold and the proceeds are of course for the parish and will be invested for parish use.’

Fr Connell then attributed a portion of the blame for the problem to Meath County Council.

He said, ‘ The council placed the land on a vacant sites register which meant if it was not used for residential development there would be an annual levy, the parish was hit for that levy in 2019, and if the sale had not gone through when it did it would have cost the same again in 2020.

‘Clearly, no parish can afford that kind of annual levy.’

A planning application is currently in place for 0.84 hectares of the site which has residential zoning.