Two teachers bring challenge over redeployment decision

Roscommon school informed it had teaching staff in excess of its approved allocation, court told

In their High Court actions, the teachers claim the decision to redeploy them breaches the Department of Education’s circular and is contrary to fair procedures, irrational and unreasonable. Image: iStock

In their High Court actions, the teachers claim the decision to redeploy them breaches the Department of Education’s circular and is contrary to fair procedures, irrational and unreasonable. Image: iStock

 

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

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

Both 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, who teaches Irish, Geography, Civic, Social and Political Education and programming, and Ms McTiernan, who teaches English and History, were both selected for redeployment.

They unsuccessfully appealed those decisions to the school board of management on several grounds including they were not surplus to the school’s curricular requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

In their judicial review actions against 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 want the court to quash the Minister’s decision to redeploy them 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 (one side only represented) by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan who has returned the matter to July.