herald

Monday 24 September 2018

Principal settles in bullying row case

A SUSPENDED secondary school principal has settled his High Court action aimed at preventing a disciplinary meeting, which he claimed would result in his dismissal.

Eric Gaughran, of Quinsboro, Monasterevin, Co Kildare, was suspended as principal of Mountmellick Community School, Co Laois, on June 21 last after the school's board of management received a report into an allegation he had bullied a member of staff.

Mr Gaughran disputed the findings of that report, which stated he did not manage matters in a proper way and recommended the board of management take action.



Suspended

He was suspended on full pay following a board meeting on June 21 last and a disciplinary meeting requiring his attendance was arranged for the following September.

Mr Gaughran had claimed his suspension was unwarranted, disproportionate and unlawful and he believes the board intend to dismiss him.

That meeting was due to take place on September 20 last. It was put on hold after Mr Gaughran initiated legal proceedings last July against the board of management aimed at preventing the September 20 disciplinary meeting taking place. A stay was also placed on that meeting.

When the matter came before the High Court for hearing, Mairead McKenna, for Mr Gaughran, told Mr Justice John Hedigan the action could be struck out. No details of the settlement, the terms of which are confidential, were revealed in open court.

In a statement of opposition the defendant had denied the claims against it.

Mr Gaughran, who obtained leave to bring an an action on an ex-parte basis, had denied any wrongdoing and the June report was the subject of an appeal.

The court heard Mr Gaughran had been principal at the school since 2002 and believed a minority of teachers at the school were orchestrating a campaign aimed at removing him from his post, and had been the victim of bullying.

Last December, the Board appointed a third party to investigate allegations Mr Gaughran had bullied a member of staff at the school.

He claimed that while he had cause to speak to that member about absenteeism in November 2008, Mr Gaughran denied he had bullied her.

hnews@herald.ie

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