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Principal who stole over €200k from Cavan school struck off teaching register for 15 years

Finbar Boyle stole the money from the national school in Cavan over a number of years.

Image: Shutterstock/hxdbzxy

A FORMER SCHOOL principal who stole €200,000 from his school has been struck off the teaching register. 

Finbar Boyle (also known as Fionbar Ó Baoill) was convicted for forgery and the theft of over €200,000 from the Department of Social Protection as well as Kilnaleck National School in Co Cavan, of which he was the principal at the time.

Boyle will not be eligible to reapply to the Teaching Council for at least 15 years. 

It emerged that €73,000 of the cash he had stolen was earmarked for school lunches for children at the disadvantaged school.

As principal, Boyle had access to the school’s credit cards and chequebook and used this money to fund trips abroad. 

Boyle was originally given a fully suspended two-year sentence on condition he repay €25,000 by Judge John Aylmer at Cavan Circuit Criminal Court in 2018.

However, in 2019 the Court of Appeal found Boyle’s sentence to be “unduly lenient” and he was accordingly sentenced to 15 months and immediately taken into custody. He has since been released from prison. 

On behalf of the director of the Teaching Council, Conor Feeney BL told the panel that Boyle’s actions had “directly impacted the school”. He said that while Boyle apologised and expressed remorse, “all acts of dishonesty are bound up with his role in the school”.

In his judgment today, Chair of the Teaching Council’s Inquiry Panel, Paul Moroney outlined the various aggravating factors which led the panel to its decision. 

Moroney said Boyle’s actions amounted to “a total betrayal of the core values” of teaching and that the former principal “showed himself to be an unreliable member of the teaching profession”.

Moroney said today’s decision will send “a clear message to the public and to those in the teaching profession” that behaviour such as Boyle’s will not be tolerated. 

The panel also considered several mitigating factors regarding Boyle’s behaviour. 

It said that it was made aware of his early admissions and an absence of previous convictions or adverse findings. 

The panel noted that he was “previously of exemplary character” and that he had carried out voluntary work for the community he lived in.

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Boyle was not present for the hearing despite multiple attempts to contact him, the hearing previously heard. 

The panel also heard there were extensive attempts to contact Boyle in the weeks leading up to the hearing, as well as the fact that he had unreservedly accepted the allegations at a preliminary hearing that was held in private earlier this year.

Attempts were made to contact Boyle in person on 23 April, but he was not at the location known to be his address. Neighbours informed solicitors that the property he had been living in had been sold.

The Teaching Council may hold hearings on whether or not a teacher is fit to teach on a number of grounds, including convictions for indictable offenses, poor performance or professional misconduct.

Sanctions for registered teachers who are the subject of these hearings are also within its remit.

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