Documentary on One

Dismissal of Eileen Flynn - New Ross School Teacher

A radio documentary that goes behind the dismissal of school teach Eileen Flynn for 'failing to maintain the Catholic ethos of the school' (Broadcast 1997)

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Documentary maker: Lorelei Harris

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Dismissal of Eileen Flynn - New Ross School Teacher

In August 1982 Ms Flynn was dismissed from her job as an English and history teacher at the Holy Faith Convent in New Ross, Co Wexford.

At the time she was sacked, Ms Flynn was unmarried with a baby son and was living with the baby's father, a separated man, Richie Roche.

Two months after Ms Flynn gave birth she received a letter from the school manager informing her that following her decision not to resign from the school her position was being terminated.

She was removed from office for 'failing to maintain the catholic ethos of the school in which she was teaching'.

Eileen Flynn became a rallying point in the 1980's for people who believed that the Catholic Church needed to be challenged on their stance within Irish society.

Ms Flynn sought to be reinstated in her post but lost her unfair dismissal case at the Employment Appeals Tribunal and at the Circuit Court. She finally lost her appeal to the High Court on March 8th, 1985.

In his reserved judgment, Mr Justice Declan Costello said: "I do not think that the respondents over-emphasise the power of example on the lives of the pupils in the school and they were entitled to conclude that the appellant's conduct was capable of damaging their efforts to foster in their pupils norms of behaviour and religious tenets which the school had been established to promote."

This story is told by Eileen Flynn herself, a nun Sr. Benignus MacDonagh, Eileen's solicitor Simon Kennedy and by Eileen's partner Richie Roche, whom she deserted.

Note: Eileen Flynn went on to marry Richie Roche. She died on September 9th 2008, survived by her husband and their five children.

Produced by Lorelei Harris.

First broadcast May 8th 1997

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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