Headmaster speaks out on banned teacher Niall O'Hagan, who was drunk while in charge of students on Lourdes pilgrimage
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Headmaster speaks out on banned teacher Niall O'Hagan, who was drunk while in charge of students on Lourdes pilgrimage

THE Catholic college where Niall O'Hagan worked for 10 years before he was banned from teaching, has spoken out about the circumstances around his case. 

Mr O’Hagan was found to be drunk while in charge of students on a school trip to Lourdes in August 2015.

The 36-year-old was a physics teacher and Head of House at St Bede’s College in Manchester at the time.

Today Dr Richard Robson, headmaster of St Bede's College in Manchester, told The Irish Post that the college has "very robust polices".

“St Bede’s College takes its safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously," Dr Robson said, "and has very robust policies and procedures in place."

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"The concern for the welfare of every pupil is paramount," he added.

St Bede's College has been organising school trips to Lourdes for over 20 years.

"These trips are of huge spiritual importance to our students," Dr Robson said, "and are part of the fabric of school life."

In relation to the incident with Mr O'Hagan, headmaster Dr Robson said "immediate action was taken by the college" to remove Mr O'Hagan and ensure the trip could continue safely.

"All the relevant authorities were informed," Dr Robson added.

Niall O'Hagan was banned indefinitely from teaching earlier this year.

A National College for Teaching and Leadership panel heard how Mr O’Hagan was “visibly intoxicated” while in charge of students at a morning mass in Lourdes on the 2015 pilgrimage.

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He was also found to be drunk at a fancy dress party and a trip to Lac de Lourdes, left students unsupervised at their hotel while he was drinking elsewhere, and provided vodka and wine to at least one student.

He was "relinquished of his duties" and sent home from the trip.

Mr Alan Meyrick, the decision maker for the Secretary of State, prohibited Mr O’Hagan from teaching indefinitely, subject to a review in two years.

Currently Mr O’Hagan cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

He cannot appeal the order until September 2018.

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