Irish Independent, April 19 2010 by Patricia McDonagh
[The teacher in the following story is almost certainly Patsy McGlinchey. Briefly Patrick McGlinchey was teaching in a school for mentally handicapped children when one mother accused him of child abuse in March 1997. There was an immediate outbreak of hysteria and practically every male teacher in the school was accused. One pupil accused 17 teachers, another accused 31 and McGlinchey himself was accused by 45 pupils. Both he and his solicitor were physically assaulted by parents. After a 19 day trial in 2002, the jury acquitted him in less than 2 hours. However the school refused to take him back OR to conduct an inquiry with a view to re-instating him.
In May 2009 the High Court lifted his suspension from teaching and ordered the school to conduct an inquiry. In January 2010 the High Court dismisssed a number of outstanding civil actions brought by parents against him.]
A TEACHER placed on paid leave amid child protection allegations is estimated to have received half a million euro as a probe into the claims has dragged on for nine years.
The teacher is one of 13 receiving full pay while under investigation for the alleged abuse and neglect of students.
The Irish Independent has learnt that the teachers are all on paid administrative leave with an average annual salary of €64,000 while the inquiries take place.
The average length of time for an investigation to be completed is three years, but one teacher has been suspended for nine -- receiving a salary of about €576,000 during that time.
None of the pupils currently at the school involved would have been present at the time the allegations were made.
The revelation comes amid criticism of the Government's child protection procedures and a raft of scandals involving children in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Last night, Labour's Ruairi Quinn called on Education Minister Mary Coughlan to explain the reason behind the "unbelievably slow" investigations.
"The idea that an investigation could go on for nine years is unbelievably flawed," he said. "The minister should explain the reason why time is being lost in these inquiries."
The Department of Education, the HSE and the gardai refused to comment last night.
Teacher unions have admitted there is a need for speedy child abuse investigations.
The Children First guidelines make it mandatory to report suspected child abuse. But in 2001, the Department of Education issued its own guidelines to schools for reporting suspected abuse to a liaison officer.
This person, who is appointed by the school board of management, passes any concerns on to the HSE. It can then go on to formally notify gardai if it suspects a child has been physically, sexually abused or willfully neglected. If the child is at serious risk, a child protection inquiry is set up by the HSE.
But where a teacher is the subject of allegations, the guidelines provide for the right not to be judged before an inquiry.
It is also up to the school board of management to decide if a teacher should be suspended or receive pay during that time.
Last night, Gemma Tuffy, of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland, said principals usually erred on the side of caution and placed the teacher on administrative leave when an allegation surfaced. And while she said such leave did not imply guilt, she admitted changes were needed to make the system more effective.
The Irish National Teachers' Organisation insisted changes had to be made to child protection guidelines.
"Among the issues the union would like to see addressed is the provision of adequate resources to outside agencies, such as the gardai, to enable inquiries to be thorough yet conducted within a reasonable timeframe," a spokesman said.
This case has not being going on for NINE years but for THIRTEEN years since Patsy McGlinchey was first accused in 1997. It is about nine years since he was acquitted in 2002. Also I doubt if an ACTIVE investigation has been going on since 2002. This was a case of mass hysteria. Numerous people have egg on their faces (including the HSE) and look extremely stupid now. They would prefer if Patsy McGlinchey just took his pension and retired quietly. That's why he had to go to the High Court in May 2009 just to get an inquiry moving. Naturally it's not finished yet!