Teacher resolves court action over Dublin school’s decision to bring disciplinary proceedings

It is understood the proposed disciplinary proceedings against the teacher are no longer proceeding and she remains a teacher at the Drumcondra school

A teacher has resolved her High Court action against a decision by the secondary school where she is employed to bring internal disciplinary proceedings against her.

The action had been taken by Emer Lally, who is a teacher at the Rosmini Community School in Drumcondra, Dublin.

She brought her proceedings after the school brought disciplinary proceedings against her regarding her work when the “blended learning” system was in place during the second pandemic lockdown in early 2021.

She had at all times denied any wrongdoing and argued the school’s decision was wrong.


In 2021 the High Court granted her an injunction, which was to remain in place pending the outcome of the full hearing of her action, restraining the school from proceeding with the disciplinary process.

An appeal by the school against that decision had been pending before the Court of Appeal.

At the High Court on Thursday, Padraic Lyons SC, instructed by solicitor Michael Kennedy of ByrneWallace LLP, for Ms Lally, told Mr Justice Mark Sanfey the entire action has been resolved and could be struck out, with an order for legal costs to be made in Ms Lally’s favour.

Joe Jeffers SC, for the school, said his side was consenting to those orders.

No details of the settlement were given in open court.

However, it is understood the proposed disciplinary proceedings against the teacher are no longer proceeding and she remains a teacher at the school.

The case first came before the court in 2021, when the school initiated a formal disciplinary process against the teacher claiming, among other things, that she cancelled 67 classes without notice to the school in breach of Department of Education guidelines.

There had also been complaints from parents of pupils about her.

The teacher was also accused of deliberate falsification of records by the incorrect marking of school rolls.

Ms Lally denied the allegations and as part of her arguments to the court said she had experienced problems with the IT system used to mark rolls and did not intentionally mark any rolls incorrectly.

She rejected claims that she marked rolls for classes that did not take place and did not deliberately falsify school records.

She also said that an audit carried out by the then school principal of the Google Meet platform, over which classes were conducted, and of the rolls system, did not fully reflect her engagement with her students during the relevant period.

No explanation had been offered to her as to why the audit did not include additional elements of the Google Suite which teachers used — such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive, Google Forms, Google Slides and Gmail — to create, distribute and mark assignments and to monitor students’ revision history.

When granting the injunction Ms Justice Nuala Butler said that the situation had been complicated by the fact that the dispute underlying the allegations against the teacher originally surfaced as an industrial relations dispute.

From November 2020 the union that represented Ms Lally, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland, instructed its members not to co-operate with changes to work practices in schools unless there had been a consensus among staff about the changes and that they did not impose obligations on teachers which would take additional time.*

The school had maintained that there was no change in work practices.

TUI members in the school, including the teacher member of the board of management, co-authored a letter in February, 2021 complaining that a number of their ASTI colleagues were not teaching their fully timetabled hours, the court noted.

*This article was amended on Thursday, December 21st, 2023