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Teacher launches infringement proceedings in High Court

A 33-YEAR-old teacher has launched infringement proceedings against Ireland which could result in a High Court judge’s ruling and criticisms against him being revoked.

Patrick Kelly, of Deansrath Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday (Tuesday) that he had asked the European Commission to commence infringement proceedings under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Kelly had taken a public dressing down from Mr Justice John Hedigan in the High Court on May 9 last when the judge described as a “public scandal” the fact that legal proceedings by him against University College, Dublin, had continued for as long as they had.

In a Circuit Civil Court case, an appeal against a decision of the Equality Tribunal, Kelly claims he was a victim of gender bias arising from having been refused a place on a UCD Masters in Social Science course 10 years ago.

Judge Hedigan said his dispute with UCD did not rise “above the level of hurt feelings” and on May 9 accepted an undertaking by Mr Kelly not to bring any new court applications against the university, its employees or its solicitor Eugene O’Sullivan.

Yesterday (Tuesday) Mr Kelly was back in the Circuit Civil Court before its president, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, seeking to have his case adjourned generally with liberty to himself and UCD to re-enter it once the European Commission’s investigation had concluded.

He told Judge Deery he was not breaching his undertaking to the High Court in that yesterday’s request for an adjournment was not an application against UCD, its employees or Mr O’Sullivan.

Kelly claims he was more qualified than the least qualified female applicant for a place on the Masters course in 2002 and that the decision to not offer him one had been based on his gender. The Equality Tribunal found he had failed to establish prima facie gender discrimination.

His Circuit Court appeal had been put on hold while he appealed to the High Court against a decision of Judge Deery not to grant him discovery of the applications and scoring sheets of 49 other candidates for the Masters course.

Marguerite Bolger, S.C., counsel for UCD opposed a general adjournment on the grounds Mr Kelly was simply dragging out his initial appeal. She said he had made applications to the High Court that had lasted for days and the current Circuit Civil Court trial could last for three days and more.

Judge Deery refused any further adjournment and set a two-day trial date for late October.