Clonmel school to challenge equality ruling

Clonmel CBS High School is to appeal to the Circuit Court the findings against it by an Equality Tribunal.

Clonmel CBS High School is to appeal to the Circuit Court the findings against it by an Equality Tribunal.

It was confirmed this week that a ruling made before Christmas, that the High School's enrolment policy put members of the Travelling Community at a disadvantage, will be listed for appeal before the next sitting of Clonmel Circuit Court, in February.

High School principal, Shay Bannon, confirmed to The Nationalist that the appeal is to be made, following a decision by the school's Board of Management. The school authorities will not be making any comment on the matter while it is still before the courts.

The Equality Tribunal ruling came following a case taken by Mary Stokes on behalf of her son, John. John applied to become a student at the school in 2009 but was denied a place. He had met two of the three enrolment criteria, having attended a local feeder school and being Roman Catholic, but not the third criteria - that he have an older brother or father who had previously been a student at the school.

It was argued at the Tribunal that as the oldest son in his family he could not have an older brother, and as the first male in his family to progress to secondary school he also could not meet the criteria of having his father be a past pupil.

The Tribunal found that the impact of the 'father rule' on members of the Travelling community was indirectly discriminatory as very few Travellers of that generation had attended secondary school.

The Tribunal went on to direct the school to review its admissions policy to ensure it did not conflict with equal status legislation, and told the school to offer John Stokes a place there.

Clonmel Circuit Court is scheduled to begin its next sittings on February 2.