Court refuses to order teaching assistant to repay €100,000 of award

Last December, the appeal court overturned the award, finding the High Court had erred

The president of the appeal court, Mr Justice Seán Ryan, said it was for the school to go back to the High Court in relation to that money.

The president of the appeal court, Mr Justice Seán Ryan, said it was for the school to go back to the High Court in relation to that money.

 

A school special needs assistant will not have to immediately give back a €100,000 payment which she received as part of a €255,000 High Court award for bullying which was later overturned, the Court of Appeal has said.

The award was made in 2014 to Una Ruffley, who worked in St Anne’s National School in the Curragh, Co Kildare. Last December, the appeal court overturned the award, finding the High Court had erred.

Ms Ruffley had been paid €100,000 of the award. When the school won its appeal, it sought the return of the money. A three-judge Court of Appeal has ruled that while Ms Ruffley has an obligation to repay, it was not making any order.

The president of the appeal court, Mr Justice Seán Ryan, said it was for the school to go back to the High Court in relation to that money. He hoped that in such future cases, there would be specific terms in High Court orders relating to repayment should an appeal succeed.

The court said no order would be made but the school had liberty to apply to the High Court for such order as it requires.

Mr Justice Ryan also noted that while the appeal court had by a 2-1 majority found Ms Ruffley was not bullied, the majority court was “far from endorsing the way she was treated”.