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'Great upset to personal lives': Two secondary school teachers launch High Court challenges

Aodhan. O'Faolain

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Aodhan. O'Faolain

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'Great upset to personal lives': Two Roscommon secondary school teachers launch High Court challenges

Two secondary school teachers in Roscommon have launched High Court challenges against a decision to redeploy them

Two secondary school teachers have launched High Court challenges against a decision to redeploy them.

The cases have been brought by Aisling McTiernan and Aimee Costello who have spent over ten years teaching at Meán Scoil Muire Gan Smál in Roscommon town.   

The teachers were earlier this year selected for redeployment under a scheme set out in a Department of Education and Skills Circular after the school was informed last December it had teaching staff in excess of its approved allocation for the academic year 2019/20.  

Ms Costello teaches Irish, Geography, Civic, Social and Political Education, and Programming, and Ms McTiernan teaches English and History - both were selected for redeployment.

They appealed those decisions on several grounds including that they were not surplus to the school's curricular requirements, to the school's board of management, which not successful. 

In their High Court actions, they claim that the decision to redeploy them breaches the Department's circular, was contrary to fair procedures, was irrational and unreasonable.

Among their grounds, they claim there was a failure by the Minister to base its decisions on an objective circular audit containing accurate data on the school.

It is also alleged that there was a failure to provide any rationale for conclusions that certain subjects, including Irish, Geography, English and History, were in surplus at the school.  

The board's decision, they also claim, was also irrational and unreasonable on grounds including that there was a failure to give adequate reasons for the decisions they reached. 

Both teachers, who live with their families in Roscommon town, claim that the decision to will cause great upset to their personal lives and circumstances.

The decisions to redeploy them, they argue, should be set aside.  

In their judicial review actions against both the Minister for Education and the school's board of management, the teachers represented by Feichin McDonagh SC and Padraic Lyons Bl seek various orders and declarations. They seek orders quashing both the minister's decisions that they redeployed for the 2019/20 school year and the school's board of management's refusal to uphold their appeals against the redeployment decisions. They also seek damages. 

Permission to bring the action was granted on an ex parte basis by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan.

The judge made the matter returnable to a date in July.