Catholic School Fined For Not Hiring a Protestant Teacher

Country: Ireland

Date of incident: November 12, 2010

A Catholic national school found guilty of ''discrimination'' by Equality Tribunal and fined more than €12,000 for not hiring a Protestant teacher.

A teacher Michelle McKeever, who is a member of the Church of Ireland, the largest non-Roman Catholic religious body on the island, applied for a permanent job at the Catholic primary school - Knocktemple National School in Virginia, Co Cavan, in Ireland, in May 2007.

Shortly after, she was contacted by the school principal and the chairperson of the school and offered a permanent post, but after a phone call in which the applicant was questioned about holding the Catholic Religion Certificate, the offer was withdrawn.

The school didn’t employ Ms McKeever, because she didn’t have a Certificate in Religious Education which would have qualified her to teach religion in the primary school. The certificate in religious studies is a compulsory requirement of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference for teachers working in Catholic-managed primary schools. The certificate is given to teachers from Catholic teacher training colleges and allows them to prepare Catholic pupils for communion and confirmation.

Ms McKeever contended that her religion became a factor in the appointment procedure. The Equality Tribunal has dismissed two explanations relating to breaches of formal procedures given by the school. In November 2010 the Equality Tribunal awarded Ms McKeever €12,697 - the maximum allowed.

We thank the Iona Institute for reporting. Read the full story here:

Read here a comment in the Belfast Telegraph: