Principal of Templeogue College will not appear as witness to counter claims by ‘whistleblower’

Former part-time teacher Jennifer Clancy has made claims of student indiscipline and alleges penalisation for role in collective grievance

The school's lawyers had previously said the principal would give evidence. Photograph: Alan Betson /The Irish Times

The principal of Templeogue College will not appear as a witness to counter claims of indiscipline among students and allegations that she penalised a teacher for putting her name to a collective grievance about the management of the Spritan-run South Dublin boys’ secondary school.

“Very simply my instructions are I’m not going to be calling any witnesses. I’m not going to be calling the principal,” the school’s barrister told the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Friday.

The school’s lawyers had previously said the principal, Niamh Quinn, would give evidence denying and disputing claims of indiscipline at the school, as well as disputing alleged claims about her conduct towards a former part-time Spanish teacher Jennifer Clancy, who has accused the school of whistleblower penalisation.

The teacher’s barrister sharply criticised the school’s management on Friday, claiming its “tactics” in the case were an attempt to “wear down the complainant” and drive up her legal bills.


In evidence to the tribunal in February, Ms Clancy had likened the school under Ms Quinn’s leadership to a “ticking time-bomb”, where students had begun to feel they had “the run of the place” due to the way the principal had handled certain incidents.

These included an alleged assault on one teacher and claims that a student had filmed another teacher’s “backside”. Teachers lodged a collective grievance in the spring of 2022 raising concerns about health and safety, the loss of staff facilities and student discipline.

Ms Clancy maintains she was penalised for putting her name to the grievance when her timetable for the term starting in September 2022 was changed, requiring her to teach in the afternoons and upending childcare arrangements she said had been agreed with Ms Quinn’s predecessor before she agreed to teach at the school.

Cross-examining Ms Clancy earlier this year, the school’s barrister, Rosemary Mallon, said that Ms Quinn would tell the tribunal herself that although she found the collective grievance difficult, she “didn’t take it personally and didn’t do anything to specifically target you”.

The cross-examination of three witnesses called by Ms Clancy’s lawyers was deferred on April 25th this year as the principal was “unable to attend” on that date.

The principal had gone to each previous hearing of the matter – with the school’s barrister putting it to Ms Clancy under cross-examination in February that various allegations she had made would be contradicted by the principal when she testified.

“I think the manner in which the respondent board of management has conducted this litigation has been nothing short of appalling ... The tactics employed have had the effect of attempting to wear down the complainant and incur exceptional legal expense through all this back and forth,” Ms Clancy’s barrister, Conor Duff, told the hearing.

The tribunal is now set to hear evidence next Tuesday from the final witness in the case. The tribunal will then hear closing arguments.