Equality

Eileen Flynn died last week.

Eileen Flynn came to public notice during the early eighties.

Eileen was a teacher in a convent school. She lived with Richie Roche, a separated man. Divorce was illegal, Eileen and Richie couldn’t married.

Shortly after Eileen had a child, she was fired by the nuns running the school where she worked.

Eileen went to the employment appeals tribunal and the High Court in an attempt to get her job back.

The court said the nuns had a right to fire Eileen for setting a bad example.

Over a decade later, sister Rosemary Duffy of the Holy Faith order wrote to the Irish Times:
‘Eileen Flynn was dismissed because in the town where most of the pupils and parents of the school lived she openly and despite warnings to the contrary continued to live a lifestyle flagrantly in conflict with the norms which the school sought to promote.’

The same year, Ireland voted to allow divorce. Richie married Eileen. In 1998, the government passed a law confirming that religious schools were exempt from equality legislation.

Eileen is survived by her husband and five children.

To me, that is a fine example of how to live.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and tweeter, yet still finds himself underemployed. Go figure.

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