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Probe into complaints on teacher, court hears

A SPECIAL needs teacher who was alleged to have mistreated a student is challenging the findings of a draft HSE report on the matter.

Patrizia Vacca, of Olcover, Shankill, Co Dublin, claims the HSE committed a "gross breach of fair procedures" and has "shown bias" in the way it has conducted an investigation into the claims, which she denies.

Ms Vacca began teaching at Enable Ireland School, Sandymount, in 2007.

She was suspended in May 2010 after a special needs assistant working in the school complained that she had mistreated a student.

Ms Vacca's barrister, Marguerite Bolger, said the HSE had asked a private firm, Polaris HR, to conduct an investigation. She said the findings of this investigation "exonerated Ms Vacca in full".

However, the HSE also set up its own investigation. Ms Bolger said her client was also informed that the HSE had received other information from the school outlining other complaints against her. She said Ms Vacca complied with the HSE's investigation and had been presented with a draft of the finding last August.

Justice

Ms Bolger said the findings in the draft report will have significant personal and professional implications for Ms Vacca.

Ms Vacca is seeking an order quashing the HSE's draft report and is also seeking a declaration that the HSE breached fair procedures and natural justice and has acted unreasonably and irrationally in the manner in which the draft report was compiled.

She is also seeking declarations that her constitutional rights, rights to fair procedures and her right to a good name were breached by the HSE.

In correspondence the HSE denies any wrongdoing in the way in which it conducted the investigation and rejects the claim that Ms Vacca was denied fair procedures.

Mr Justice Michael Peart yesterday granted Ms Vacca leave to bring the proceedings.

hnews@herald.ie


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