Discrimination action involving female NUIG lecturers resolved

Academics claimed they were less favourably treated on grounds of gender and or family status

Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor (centre) is seen with the four NUI Galway lecturers who won their gender discrimination case against the university.

Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor (centre) is seen with the four NUI Galway lecturers who won their gender discrimination case against the university.

 

A High Court action by four women lecturers at National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) alleging gender discrimination in a competition for promotion has been resolved.

The actions were brought by Dr Sylvie Lannegrand, Dr Róisín Healy, Dr Margaret Hodgins, and Dr Adrienne Gorman.

They claimed their applications for the positions of senior lecturer at the various departments they worked in were unsuccessful following promotion process operated by the college between October 2008 and April 2009.

They also said they were treated less favourably by NUIG on ground of their gender and or family status.

There was a significant disparity in the prospect of success of female applicants compared to males in the promotion competition, it was claimed.

Margurite Bolger SC, for the four, told Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Wednesday that the cases had been adjourned to allow for mediation which had taken place and the matters had been fully resolved. Counsel applied for a strike out of the entire proceedings.

Mr Justice Meenan struck the cases out on consent between the parties.

The ruling follows the landmark case of Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington against NUIG in 2014. Dr Sheehy Skeffington, a plant ecologist at NUI Galway for 34 years, won her case against the university when the Equality Tribunal ruled that she was not promoted to senior lecturer because of her gender. The ruling, based on the 2008 to 2009 round that saw the promotion of 16 men but only one woman, described the university’s interview process as “ramshackle” and noted that one of the men promoted was not even eligible to apply.

NUIG was subsequently ordered to promote Dr Sheehy Skeffington, pay her €70,000 and review its appointments system.

Dr Sheehy Skeffington said on Tuesday in a statement: “It was the courage of these four women to stand up to the endemic bullying of women at NUI Galway that has led to this result.”

“I am delighted for them as I know it’s been a terrible strain over the last four years. It is also thanks to their courage, and the resulting publicity their cases generated, that all academic women will benefit from the radical changes that have been promised both for NUI Galway and for all Irish Universities,” she said.