Sacking of principal ‘contrary to the law’

A school principal who raised serious concerns about alleged mismanagement in the school where he was employed has been summarily dismissed.

No reasons were given to the teacher for the termination of his contract.

The INTO teachers’ union has written to the board of management at the Red Door school in Monkstown, south Dublin, claiming the sacking was illegal and must be revoked.

The letter says the sacked principal had made known some serious concerns which he had about alleged mismanagement of the school to the relevant authorities, including the Department of Education, the Data Protection Commissioner, and An Garda Siochána.

“These concerns related to alleged serious misuse of public funds by management of the school and to alleged invasion of the privacy rights of pupils and staff at the school.”

The union says it will seek remedy in the High Court if the dismissal isn’t revoked.

Last month, the Irish Examiner reported that investigations had been launched into practices at the school by both the department and the Data Protection Commissioner. Both probes commenced on foot of concerns expressed by the new principal.

In particular, documentation and practices at the school indicated that a special needs assistant allocated to the school was not presenting for work. Instead, she was alleged to be attending at the private home of a couple who are involved in running the school. The department received information that this SNA may have been working in that capacity for several years, despite time sheets recording her attendance on school premises.

Under the department’s rules there is no instance in which an SNA can be based in the home of a parent or staff member. Another issue raised at the time was the extensive use of CCTV on the school grounds.

Data Protection Commissioner personnel attended at the school and this matter is understood to have been resolved. The investigation by the department is ongoing.

The principal was sacked following a board of management meeting on Aug 10 at which the only item was his continued employment.

The INTO has informed the board’s chairman, David Quinn, of its belief that the dismissal was directly connected to the raising of the issues in question.

“Your actions in purporting to summarily terminate our member’s contract in response to his raising of these serious concerns is grossly unfair, entirely unreasonable and a victimisation of our member which in turn have caused [him] enormous distress and loss of reputation. Your actions are clearly contrary to the law and his contractual rights.”

The Red Door school was set up more than a decade ago by parents of children with special needs. It receives funding from the Department of Education for staff and SNAs.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Quinn said he was on holidays and could not talk now, before terminating the call.


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