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Ousted teacher left her 'politics at home'

Published 20/03/2014

Connla Young




A teacher forced to quit her job after being subjected to sectarian intimidation when it emerged she was a Sinn Fein councillor has insisted she left her "politics at home".

Lurgan woman Catherine Seeley left her post at Belfast Boys Model in February, just weeks after being co-opted to craigavon Borough council.

She had faced online abuse and graffiti after her photograph and details were posted on a Protestant coalition website. The 25-year-old had taught Learning for Life and Work and history at the school, which is in the loyalist Ballysillan area, since last September. This week she used an online blog to speak about what happened.

"In the six-month period I worked in the Boys Model not one member of staff nor pupil would have had any inkling of my involvement in Sinn Fein," she said.

"It was in no way relevant to my teaching role.

"I left my politics well and truly at home - between the hours of 8am and 4pm my teacher hat was firmly on.

"teacher by day, Sinn Fein activist by night. That was until the Protestant coalition decided to take issue with it."

Ms Seeley said she left her job to protect the pupils in her care.

"The boys they were claiming to represent were the same boys who were just three months away from sitting GCSE and a-Level exams and who would now lose their class teacher," she said.

"Not an easy decision to make might I add - the boys came first though. My continued role there would have cast a spotlight on the school and their studies until my departure."

Ms Seeley has been redeployed to a catholic maintained post primary school in the southern board area.