'Fairness Is all I Want'; Acquitted of Sexual Abuse 13 years Ago, Teacher Fights on to Return to the Classroom.
The Daily Mail (UK) 21 April 2010 by Sandra Murphy
A TEACHER wept uncontrollably yesterday as he relived the horror of being falsely accused of sexually abusing his pupils.
Patrick McGlinchey struggled to retain composure as he told the court of how his career ended 13 years ago after he was wrongly labelled a paedophile
Despite winning the legal battle over the accusations, he has not been allowed to return to work.
He broke down as he told the court: 'For God's sake, I've had my life destroyed.' The 57-year-old from Newport, Co. Tipperary was acquitted of abusing children with special needs at St Vincent's school in Lisnagry, Co. Limerick, in 2002.
In May last year, he had a 12-year suspension from his job quashed in a High Court settlement.
However he could not return to work until an independent inquiry was carried out by the board of management at the school.
He walked out of the inquiry last December, saying that it 'had made no effort to get at the truth'.
His actions were deemed a breach of the settlement conditions by the school.
According to his lawyer, the school board subsequently re-suspended Mr McGlinchey and have threatened disciplinary proceedings.
The teacher yesterday challenged the legality of the inquiry and insisted it allowed inadmissible hearsay evidence that is a breach of his rights.
Mr McGlinchey told Miss Justice Mary Laffoy that he should be allowed to return to the classroom and is seeking damages for psychological distress and injury. Dismissing the efforts of the school to investigate the complaints of pupils, he said that they made no effort to uncover the origins of the false claims.
He said: 'I wanted to hear the truth but they wouldn't do it.
'They kept fobbing me off and kept me at home.
'This has destroyed my life and this has destroyed my children's lives.' The case briefly broke to allow Mr McGlinchey to be comforted by his wife, Dympna.
After the recess, he told barrister Peter Finlay SC, he thought the school's inquiry would question other teachers over the events but this never happened.
He said: 'I couldn't understand why the board was not bringing them in. That's why I'm so upset.' Barrister Gerard Hogan SC, acting on behalf of St Vincent's, told the court that the teacher had broken the settlement.
Mr Hogan said: 'You agreed to attend the inquiry and co-operate.
'The fact that you departed the scene says you did not co-operate.' Mr McGlinchey responded: 'Why did they not bring in teaching staff and show people what happened? 'Why did they not bring in builders to say I lived in a bungalow not a two-storey house as one of the complainants had told them? Fair procedures are all I wanted and I didn't get it and the whole thing is still going on 13 years later.' Despite being cleared of the sex assault charges following a 19-day trial in 2002, he said two children who originally made claims against him were witnesses in the inquiry last December.
Mr McGlinchey added: 'They just didn't want to get at the truth.' Despite his acquittal he has remained suspended on full pay for 13 years.
He strongly denied the charges and a large number of his fellow teachers, and the parents of two children he had taught, gave evidence on his behalf.
Mr McGlinchey is seeking declarations that his continued suspension is unlawful, that he is entitled to return to work and that he should be compensated for emotional distress.
His lawyer added the 'injustice' has caused considerable damage to the teacher as well as distress to his wife, children and colleagues.
The case continues.