Teacher challenges school’s decision to transfer her

A teacher who was subject of a number of complaints by pupils and parents, including about her teaching competency and behaviour, has brought a High Court challenge to decisions to initially compulsorily transfer her to another school and later place her on administrative leave.

Mary McEneaney alleges since the Cavan and Monaghan Education Training Board learned in 2009 that she suffered from depression after she had told her then school principal, she has been discriminated against on grounds of her illness.

She had not stated that she suffered from depression on a form she filled in when taking up employment at Largy College, Clones, Co Monaghan, in 1999 because she feared discrimination, Ms McEneaney said.

That fear was justified arising from how the school authorities responded to her illness after she informed them in April 2009 she was then receiving treatment for depression, she said.

She was “deeply offended” when the then principal, Jim O’Connor, told fifth-year pupils in late 2009 she had “health issues” and that he phoned her treating consultant seeking to discuss those issues, she added.

Ms McEneaney considered her treatment by the school authorities contributed to her “extensive” illness between November 2010 and March/April 2011. Between April 2011 and February 2013, she was working as normal, she added.

Ms McEneaney claims she has not been given a proper opportunity to deal with five complaints. One complaint has been investigated and found not proven, the court heard. There is no formal investigation to date into the other complaints, all of which she rejects.

Ms McEneaney disputes claims by the Cavan and Monaghan Education Training Board that its August 2013 decision to transfer her from the 500-pupil Largy College to a smaller school in Cavan was primarily based on concerns about her mental health, intended as “a fresh start” for her, and in the best interests of herself and Largy College.

In judicial review proceedings, Ms McEneaney, with an address in Monaghan Town, wants orders quashing the transfer decision and a later one to place her on administrative leave.

The case opened yesterday but Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns suggested the sides discuss matters. The case was adjourned to today.


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