Teacher ‘suffered ten years of homophobic harassment’
The case of an Irish teacher who was allegedly bullied by colleagues for ten years over his sexual orientation is being challenged in the High Court.
Pearse Brannigan says his health broke down in 2006 and he was forced to seek early retirement as a result of discrimination and harassment, the Irish Times reports.
County Louth Vocational Education Committee claims the tribunal is entitled to investigate only two of Mr Brannigan’s complaints.
The teacher was employed at St Laurence’s Vocational Education College in Drogheda
According to the VEC, the tribunal is not entitled to hear about other matters dating back to 1997, including claims that Mr Brannigan was physically and verbally abused by pupils.
The tribunal opened earlier this year but is now on hold pending the outcome of the High Court judicial review challenge.
The two incidents it claims can be heard relate to an alleged attempt of assault from another teacher and a March 2006 incident in which a colleague allegedly placed a banana in a condom in his mail box.
In separate High Court proceedings for damages for physical injuries allegedly suffered due to negligence by the VEC, Mr Brannigan claims he was treated with “utter contempt” by pupils, who threw objects at him.
He also alleges that grafitti was scrawled on a door saying: “Brannigan is a queer and a bastard”.
The VEC is denying his claims and states that it has no liability for any injuries sustained.
It has said that staff at the school were aware of Mr Brannigan’s sexual orientation and had no issue with it.