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Teacher Cleared of Sex Abuse Sobs As Suspension Ends

Irish Independent, By Louise Hogan and Tim Healy Saturday May 16 2009

Teacher Patsy McGlinchey is comforted by his wife Dymphna after the 12-year suspension from work was quashed in the High Court yesterday. Mr McClinchey had been accused of abusing pupils but was acquitted of the charges in 2002

A TEACHER cleared of sexually abusing pupils at a special needs school broke down in tears when his suspension from his job was quashed yesterday after more than a decade.

Patsy McGlinchey (56), from Newport, Co Tipperary, will not, however, return to work until an independent inquiry is held by the school where he was employed before his suspension.

Leaving the High Court after a settlement was reached in his bid to be reinstated, a shaken Mr McGlinchey was supported by his wife Dymphna, who revealed it had been a very tough 12 years for their family.

"We just want to say we are very, very happy with the outcome of today," his wife said.

Yesterday, it was agreed Mr McGlinchey's 12-year suspension from his job would be quashed but he would not return to the post pending the outcome of an independent inquiry.

In 1997, he was suspended from his job following allegations he had abused a number of pupils in the special needs school. He has strongly denied the claims.

A subsequent investigation by the Health Service Executive into the claims had concluded he posed a risk to children. But in 2002, he was acquitted of sex abuse charges following a trial by judge and jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. He has remained suspended on full pay for nearly 12 years, despite the acquittal.

The teacher took High Court proceedings seeking to be reinstated which resulted in yesterday's settlement before Judge John Hedigan.

Following discussions between his senior counsel Peter Finlay and lawyers for the school, the court was informed the matter had been resolved and a settlement statement would be handed in.

As part of the resolution, counsel said, both parties had agreed to an order quashing the suspension of the applicant forthwith and to an independent inquiry to be held in private.

It was also agreed that Mr McGlinchey would not return to work pending the outcome of the inquiry. The exact terms of the full and final settlement would remain confidential.

Proceedings against the HSE, which was a defendant along with the school, could be dismissed, counsel said.

In his case for reinstatement, Mr McGlinchey had sought declarations his continued suspension was unlawful.

Earlier this week, his counsel told the court Mr McGlinchey wanted to be reinstated to fully restore his good name and reputation.

The HSE decision that he was a risk to children was without truth or merit, his counsel said. This episode had caused considerable damage to the teacher and distress to his family, he said. An assessment of the teacher by the HSE later concluded he was not a danger to children, it heard.

Louise Hogan and Tim Healy