Northern Ireland news

Belfast school principal who apologised for plagiarising article to retire

Dermot Mullan, principal of Our Lady and St Patrick's College in Knock, Belfast
Brendan Hughes

A grammar school principal who apologised earlier this year for plagiarising an article for its newsletter is to retire.

Dermot Mullan has been head of the award-winning Our Lady and St Patrick's College in Knock, Belfast, for the past decade.

The 63-year-old informed the school's board governors of his retirement decision at a meeting on Tuesday night, and pupils and teachers were told yesterday morning.

It's understood he will remain in post until a replacement is found.

In January Mr Mullan, originally from Omagh in Co Tyrone, apologised after being accused on Twitter of copying an article for the Catholic grammar's newsletter.

His decision to retire is not connected to the plagiarism row.

Tom Rogers, a history teacher and columnist for the Times Education Supplement, publicly challenged Mr Mullan by posting a picture of the newsletter alongside his original blog post.

He wrote: "I particularly like his signature and picture at the end. Hope his students have got the message – plagiarism is a-ok!"

Responding through his school's Twitter account, Mr Mullan admitted he failed to reference the article's source.

"I apologise. I should have attributed your article. I did have the same experience as a student. I would like to apologise in person if I had your contact details," he wrote.

Our Lady and St Patrick's College was founded in September 1985, following the closures of the Sacred Heart of Mary Grammar School, Holywood and St Patrick's College, Knock.

Mr Mullan was previously principal of St Patrick's Grammar School in Downpatrick.

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