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Former principal who stole over €200k fails to turn up to Teaching Council hearing

Finbar Boyle unreservedly accepted the allegations at a preliminary hearing earlier this year.

The Teaching Council
The Teaching Council
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A TEACHING COUNCIL hearing on fitness to teach took place this afternoon, regarding theft convictions of a registered teacher in Cavan Circuit Court in 2018.

Finbar Boyle, or Fionbar Ó Baoill, was convicted in 2018 in the Cavan Circuit Court for theft and fraud 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, who has an address in Ballybofey in Co. Donegal, was not present at the hearing this afternoon. 

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.

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

Attempts were made to serve Boyle in person on 23 April but he was not at home with neighbors informing solicitors that the home had been sold.

After deliberations, a disciplinary panel decided that the hearing would continue today despite Boyle not attending.

The hearing heard that Boyle had stolen over €200,000, €73,000 of which was funds from the Department of Social Protection to be used as part of the free school meals scheme run by the department.

The money from the Department of Social Protection was being deposited into a second school account, according to Sergeant Jim McDevitt, known as the food account.

Cheques from this account were then made out, the majority of which were to Boyle. All of these cheques were signed by Boyle, and were going into his account or his joint account with his wife.

The hearing also heard that Boyle had used the school’s credit card for his own personal use, using €66,000 of school funds as well as an improper drawing of cheques on the school account for a total of €62,000.

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There was also €2,850 that was misapplied for the schools’ post office account by Boyle.

He had originally received a two-year suspended sentence with the condition he repay €25,000, but this was appealed by the Director of Public Prosecutions to become a 15-month sentence.

The three-person disciplinary panel decided that the complaint against Boyle was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The panel also decided that it would issue a report before sanctions are decided upon.

Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the hearing was held online.

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