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Dublin college barred from selling Kennedy letters is to close

23 May 2014 | by Liz Dodd

A Catholic college in Ireland is to close its doors after efforts to keep it afloat financially failed.

A last attempt to raise funds for the Vincentian-run All Hallows College, part of the University of Dublin, by auctioning archived letters from Jackie Kennedy to one of its priests was blocked by her family on Wedneday.

The 172-year-old college admitted today it had been running at a deficit for many years, which it said extensive fundraising and restructuring had failed to solve.

“The wind down of the college will begin immediately,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “Every effort will be made to facilitate existing students in the completion of their courses and the college’s administration will be in contact with current applicants.”

It blamed a fall in the number of students applying to study there on a cap on the number of undergraduates eligible for the “free fees” scheme, through which the Irish Government pays for students’ tuition.

There are 450 students currently studying at All Hallows, which was set up in 1842. The college employs more than 70 members of staff, and it said it would hold a consultation with them.

The Kennedy family intervened this week to prevent the college from auctioning 31 private letters from former US first lady Jackie Kennedy to one of its priests, Fr Joseph Leonard, who died in 1964. The sale of the letters had been expected to raise up to €1.2 million.



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