Language school granted interim injunction against watchdog

 

A CO Wicklow language school has been granted a temporary injunction restraining the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) from striking it off a register of recognised language colleges.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that not to grant the interim restraint could have serious consequences for young students in or on their way to Ireland on visas that could be deemed invalid if the school were immediately to lose official recognition.

Barrister Mary Jo Butler told the High Court that Jacqueline Sababou, The Green, Woodbrook Glen, Bray, had traded since 2005 as Language and Business College Ireland at Quinsboro Road, Bray.

Ms Butler said the college had always run courses accredited by the Accreditation and Co-ordination of English Language Services which had recently been taken over by the NQAI.

The authority provided quality assurance for English language services in Ireland through the management and operation of an inspection scheme for language-teaching organisations.

The NQAI was the Irish centre for the recognition of international qualifications.

Ms Butler said that in May last an inspector had raised issues that remained outstanding in order for the college to be compliant with regulations. The NQAI had threatened to withdraw recognition of the college because of the late completion and implementation of a development plan for the school.

Ms Sababou told the court in an affidavit that the plan had been completed but the authority had refused to accept it on the grounds it had not been delivered before the deadline of July 13th last.

She said if the withdrawal of recognition was allowed to stand it would have serious implications for students who were in Ireland or travelling to Ireland on visas which were dependent upon accreditation of the college.

Judge McDermott said he would grant an interim injunction until Thursday as there was going to be serious consequences for innocent parties who should not have been placed in such a situation. He said there were in existence contracts provided to students coming from abroad who had obtained visas for the purpose of travelling to and remaining in Ireland.