Press Release

SIPTU welcomes Supreme Court judgment in disability case

Date Released: 31 July 2019

SIPTU representatives have welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court today (Wednesday 31st July) to grant an appeal by union member, Marie Daly, against a decision of the Court of Appeal last year in a case in which she alleged that she had been the victim of discrimination by her employer because of her disability.

Marie Daly, assisted and advised by SIPTU representatives, had unsuccessfully argued her case against her employer for alleged discrimination before the Equality Tribunal in 2013.  However, with further union assistance, she won a decision at the Labour Court, and subsequently the High Court in 2018, which both ruled that the Nano Nagle School in Killarney, county Kerry had breached equality legislation by failing to consult with her before it refused to allow her continue in her role as a Special Needs Assistant after she incurred a disability following an accident.

The school successfully appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal last year. However, this ruling was overturned in a significant judgment by the Supreme Court today.

The Supreme Court said: “The issues which arise are, undoubtedly, of significant importance, not only to the appellant, but in the broader field of disability law.”

However, in issuing it’s judgement the Court went on to direct her case back to the Labour Court to allow it to assess the implications of the Supreme Court decision including the manner in which it dealt with Ms Daly’s original claim of discrimination and the evidence before it.

SIPTU Head of Legal Rights Unit, Rachael Ryan said: “We welcome this decision, it comes nine years after Marie Daly had her accident which left her with a disability, and some six years after the original hearing before the Equality Tribunal which found she could not continue in her role as a Special Needs Assistant. She courageously fought this unjust treatment all the way to the Supreme Court with the assistance of her family, friends and colleagues in SIPTU.”


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