By Ray Managh
A Co Wicklow language school has been granted a temporary injunction restraining the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) from striking it off a register of recognised language colleges.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that not to grant the interim restraint could have serious consequences for young students in or on their way to Ireland on visas that could be deemed invalid if the school were immediately to lose 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 Road, 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 Authority provided quality assurance for English language services in Ireland through the management and operation of an inspection scheme for language teaching organisations. NQAI was the Irish centre for the recognition of international qualifications.
Ms Butler said that in May last an inspector had raised issues that remained outstanding in order for the college to be compliant with regulations. NQAI had threatened to withdraw recognition of the college because of 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 that NQAI had refused to accept it on the grounds it had not been delivered to them before the deadline of Friday July 13 last.
She said that 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 which 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 they would not be allowed into Ireland. Those who had already arrived could be expelled from the country.
Judge McDermott said he would grant an interim injunction until Thursday as there was 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.
The judge said he had to have regard for the young people involved and the parents who had invested considerable amounts of money in their children’s education.