The handling of the dismissal of Castlebar teacher Enoch Burke has caused some concern with teacher unions over aspects of how the case was managed and the grounds on which he was dismissed.
Mr Burke, who was employed as a German and history teacher at Wilson’s Hospital School, in Co Westmeath, was formally dismissed from his post on Friday afternoon.
It follows a disciplinary hearing which took place on Thursday at the Mullingar Park Hotel in Co Westmeath, which was disrupted by protests from the Burke family.
It is understood that Mr Burke is not a member of either of the two second-level teachers’ unions, the ASTI and the TUI.
The Irish Times are today reporting that sources have indicated there is unease over the manner and speed at which he was dismissed, while one senior union source says while they are not involved in this case in any way, they are concerned about the wider issue of teachers’ rights and haven’t seen details about the grounds on which the dismissal took place.
Under school disciplinary procedures, Mr Burke is entitled to appeal the outcome of the hearing within 10 school days. If he does so, it will trigger the establishment of a disciplinary appeals panel which includes an independent chair from a panel nominated by the Minister for Education, a member of a school management body and a representative from a teachers’ union.
Mr Burke’s dismissal will also trigger a report to the Teaching Council, which has the power to deregister teachers under certain circumstances.