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High Court Finds that School Principal Should be Reinstated after Eleven Years

posted 11 months ago

The High Court has recently upheld the decision of the Labour Court that a Principal of a primary school was unfairly dismissed, eleven and a half years after he was first placed on administrative leave. In An Bord Banistíochta, Gaelscoil Moshíológ v The Labour Court [2023] IEHC 484, the High Court (Cregan J.) described the case as “a shocking story of a terrible injustice done to Mr. Ó Suird.” (the Principal/Notice Party).

 

Facts: Mr Ó Suird was employed as the Principal of Gaelscoil Moshíológ (the “School”). In January 2012, he was placed on administrative leave from his position due to an incident involving a pupil, which occurred on 11th January 2012, and which was later described as a “minor incident” and did not warrant external investigation. The chairperson of the Board of Management, Ms Ní Dhuinn (the “Chairperson”) then investigated other issues surrounding enrolment figures in the School. In March 2013, the Board of Management (the “Board”) decided to keep Mr Ó Suird on administrative leave for reasons identified during the investigation into enrolment figures and he was subsequently suspended in May 2013. A lengthy disciplinary process was conducted by the Board and Mr Ó Suird was dismissed with effect from 30th November 2015. He appealed his dismissal, but his appeal was unsuccessful. Mr Ó Suird then brought a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission (the “WRC”) which found that he had been unfairly dismissed and ordered his re-engagement. The Board appealed this decision to the Labour Court which upheld the decision of the WRC.

The Board subsequently appealed to the High Court on a point of law pursuant to section 46 of the Workplace Relations Commission Act 2015, seeking a declaration that the Labour Court erred in its decision, and an Order setting aside the decision of the Labour Court and remitting the matter to the Labour Court.

 

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