Language school granted injunction over status on register

A Co Wicklow language school has been granted a temporary injunction stopping the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland from striking it off a register of language colleges.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that not to grant the interim restraint could have serious consequences for students in or on their way to Ireland on visas that could be deemed invalid if the school immediately lost official recognition.

Barrister Mary Jo Butler told the High Court that Jacqueline Sababou, of The Green, Woodbrook Glen, Bray, had traded since 2005 as Language and Business College Ireland at Quinsboro Rd, Bray.

Ms Butler said the college had always run courses accredited by the Accreditation and Co-ordination of English Language Services, which had recently been taken over by NQAI.

The NQAI provided quality assurance for English language services in Ireland.

NQAI was the Irish centre for the recognition of international qualifications.

Ms Butler said that, in May, an inspector raised issues that remained outstanding in order for the college to be compliant with regulations. NQAI had threatened to withdraw recognition of the college due to the late completion and implementation of a development plan for the school.

Ms Sababou told the court in an affidavit that the plan had been completed but NQAI had refused to accept it on the grounds it had not been delivered before the deadline of Jul 13.

She said if the withdrawal of NQAI recognition was allowed to stand it would have serious implications for students of the college who were in Ireland or currently travelling to Ireland on visas that were dependent upon accreditation of the college.

Ms Butler said that if the college lost its accreditation the visas, if checked at Dublin Airport, could be deemed invalid and the students would not be allowed into Ireland. Those who had already arrived could be expelled.

Judge McDermott said he would grant an interim injunction until Thursday as there were going to be serious consequences for innocent parties who should not have been placed in such a situation.

He said there were in existence contracts provided to students coming from abroad who had obtained visas for the purpose of travelling to and remaining in Ireland. He said he had to have regard for the students involved, and the parents who had invested considerable amounts of money in their children’s education.

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