Kilkenny principal secures court order to prevent dismissal

The principal of a Kilkenny school who was declared 'unfit for office' has secured a temporary High Court order stopping the Education Minister from dismissing her.

Cathy McSorley claims Minister Ruairi Quinn's decision to remove her from her position is "unjustified, irrational and grossly unfair", and based on a "fatally flawed and unsound" investigation report.

The court heard of Ms McSorley's efforts to turn around Kilkenny City Vocational School which was described as being "in serious decline" when she took over as principal in 1999.

However in 2006 the then Education Minister Mary Hanafin ordered a statutory inquiry into her conduct over alleged failures in school discipline, bullying of staff and claims that Ms McSorley paid students to attend the school.

An interim report exonerated her on all six counts, criticised her employer Co Kilkenny VEC for not supporting her and concluded the principal was a 2very considerable force for good in the school".

However Ms McSorley claims the author of the report acted beyond his powers in investigating and finding against her in new matters relating to the school's funding.

She secured leave by the court to challenge the report and the Minister's decision to dismiss her from her post, which she claims is contrary to her legal and constitutional rights.

In the meantime the judge has granted her an injunction temporarily protecting her position.

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