The death has taken place of Eileen Roche (neé Flynn) at New Ross. Eileen died suddenly on Tuesday night last. Eileen was originally from Co. Laois and was once employed as a secondary teacher at Holy Faith Convent, New Ross. About 25 years ago Eileen was a well-known face on our TV screens arising from her dismissal from the school.
Eileen was sacked from her job as she was living locally with a separated man with whom she had a child. The order accused her of causing scandal to parents and of openly rejecting norms of behaviour that the school supported. Eileen was sacked 2 months after giving birth.
Eileen took her case to an employment appeals tribunal and she lost. Further appeals to the Circuit and High Courts also failed. Eileen subsequently returned to teaching at New Ross CBS and married her partner about 10 years ago. Eileen never expected to win her case and felt that the school had won a pyrrhic victory. She went on to have 4 more children. She will be buried in Rosbercon close to the school from which she was dismissed on Friday.
The 1980’s now seem a dim and distant land where the state played second fiddle to the ecclesiastical order and the citizen came a poor third. It must have taken extraordinary courage and determination to take on these pillars of society within your own community and stay, especially when it may have been easier to walk away. Walking away however isn’t an option when you’ve a 2 month old child to look after. I never knew Eileen as her union branch was a neighbouring one to my own, however I’m saddened that someone with so much more life ahead of them can be taken so suddenly. My sympathies to her family, friends and former teaching colleagues. I hope that no other teacher ever has to go through the ordeal that Eileen Roche was put through.