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Tribunal won't hear teacher's job case

A TEACHER who claimed he was unfairly dismissed from a position of housemaster at one of the country's most prestigious boarding schools has been told his case won't be heard -- because he still teaches at the school.

An Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) committee yesterday refused to hear the case of Ed O'Farrell who began working as a teacher with the fee-paying Blackrock College in Co Dublin in September 2001.

The tribunal was informed that after he began teaching at the elite boys secondary school, he was also offered a second role as housemaster for an additional salary of €13,000. This salary was paid to him directly by the school, while his teaching salary is paid by the Department of Education.

Of the 1,000 boys at Blackrock College, around 100 are boarders. They stay in Williamstown Castle, a property on the school's leafy campus.

The housemasters are responsible for supervising the boarder's study and recreational activities and must also spend a certain number of nights with them at their accommodation.

The position also included free accommodation for Mr O'Farrell in a five-bedroom house on the nearby Clonkeen Road, in Deansgrange, Co Dublin, which he shared with two other housemasters. He never received a written contract for this position.

In 2004 he was promoted to the position of Assistant to the Director but he learned in June 2009 that the position no longer existed.

A letter he received informed him that due to a downturn in boarders at the school it was the intention of the board of management to reduce the number of housemasters by one.

Mr O'Farrell was told he would have to vacate his accommodation within four weeks. Tom Mallon, counsel for Blackrock College, said Mr O'Farrell remained a teacher of "good standing" at the school, and as he was still an employee of Blackrock College, the EAT was not the correct forum to deal with the matter.


He said as Mr O'Farrell had not handed in his notice in order to pursue a constructive dismissal case, his claims could not be heard by the EAT.

He said his role as housemaster was additional to his teacher's contract and not separate from it. Mr Mallon added that if Mr O'Farrell wished to pursue claims that he was treated unfairly he would have to choose a different route.

Kevin D'Arcy, counsel for Mr O'Farrell, told the tribunal that his client had been furnished with redundancy forms and an offer of a redundancy payment of more than €500. This meant he was effectively made redundant from a post that was separate from his teaching post.

Mr O'Farrell's claim was dismissed as being outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Irish Independent