Former Cork principal gets reduced sanction for falsely claiming €244k of grants for school

Former Cork principal gets reduced sanction for falsely claiming €244k of grants for school

A REDUCED sanction on a former principal who furnished false information to get €244,000 in grants for her school has been confirmed by the High Court.

Today, Ms Justice Niamh Hyland confirmed a revised decision of the Teaching Council to reduce a 15 year restriction on Eileen O'Connor applying for any promotional posts to ten years.

Ms O'Connor, aged 38, was principal of Gaelscoil Mhuscraí in Blarney, when she made the applications for capitation grants to which she was not entitled to the Department of Education and Skills. 

It involved overstating the numbers of pupils so that the school would get extra capitation grants of €197 per child and ancillary services grants of €147.

She did not benefit personally from the fraud, a court heard in 2017 when she was given a one-year suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to making use of a document required for accounting purposes that she knew as misleading, false or deceptive.

In February in the High Court, Ms Justice Hyland declined to confirm a recommendation of the Teaching Council that she be restricted from applying for promotional posts for 15 years, but said Ms O'Connor should instead be restricted for ten years.

Ms Justice Hyland expressed concern the Council had sought a 15 year restriction in circumstances where Mr O'Connor had not applied for any such promotion for the last nine years.

The Council panel had not taken that nine years into account, she said. She sent the matter back to the Council for reconsideration.

Today, solicitor JP McDowell, for the Council, said the Council had reconsidered the matter and agreed a ten year restriction was proportionate.

In those circumstances, the judge confirmed the decision Ms O'Connor was not in court or represented.

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