GMIT ‘Peeping Tom’ faces teaching ban under new vetting policy

Peep holes drilled in a cubicle wall at GMIT

A lecturer at GMIT – previously the subject of a student toilets ‘Peeping Tom’ investigation – could be banned from teaching under Garda vetting policy introduced at the college.

At the time, the investigation did not determine that the lecturer had been responsible for drilling holes in student toilet cubicle walls, or that he had used them as peep holes. He continues to work there.

However, earlier this month, all staff at the college were told to fill out applications to be assessed by the Garda National Vetting Bureau – which is a national legislative requirement for educational organisations – so they can be retrospectively vetted.

The GMIT ‘Garda Vetting Policy for Employees’ document – seen by the Galway City Tribune – states that any staff member who has been subject to disciplinary action or sanction relating to children, “must withdraw from working in any position, or on any project, which involves contact with children” or vulnerable person until a review panel can consider the matter and decide on an appropriate course of action.

Under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016, a child is defined as anyone under 18 years of age, while a vulnerable person is defined as one with an intellectual disability, physical impairment or physical disability.

It is estimated that each year, several hundred first year students would be under 18, while 500 students are understood to be registered with the GMIT Access and Disability office.

The GMIT policy document was drafted in July of last year – at the same time this newspaper published extensive details of the ‘Peeping Tom’ investigation, witness statements and photos of the peep holes.

The internal investigation into “gross misconduct” dates back to mid-2008, and the lecturer was suspended for six months – ultimately, it did not determine whether he was responsible for drilling or using the holes at the Dublin Road and Cluain Mhuire campuses. However, he gave an assurance that he would confine himself to the use of staff toilets “out of prudence”.

The report said: “The holes in the partitions are not consistent with maintenance and were drilled for the purposes of ‘peep-holes’.”
For the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.