St Mary’s VP - ‘The past is in the past’

St Mary's College vice-principal Rosa McLaughlin pictured during her previous role with the Foyle Learning Community.
St Mary's College vice-principal Rosa McLaughlin pictured during her previous role with the Foyle Learning Community.
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The Derry vice-principal at the centre of a political storm over her IRA past has broken her silence stating: “The past is in the past”.

The Derry vice-principal at the centre of a political storm over her IRA past has broken her silence stating: “The past is in the past”.

Speaking exclusively to the ‘Journal’ last night, Rosa McLaughlin said: “The past is in the past. My only interest and concern now is for the pupils and their future”.

Her brief statement followed the revelation that Ms McLaughlin was recently appointed vice-principal of St Mary’s College despite being convicted in 1998 of IRA membership and collecting information useful to terrorists, for which she was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

The appointment has been strongly defended by the principal of St Mary’s College, Marie Lindsay, the Board of Governors and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) who said all proper procedures were followed.

Ms McLaughlin had openly declared her conviction on her application and was “the best qualified candidate” for the post, the college principal said, stressing that “due process” was followed.

The new vice-principal was formerly the Inter-Schools Liaison Manager for the Foyle Learning Community which includes 15 post-primary schools in the Derry area, both in the maintained and controlled sector, as well as the North West Regional College and special schools.

Mrs. Lindsay said: “The situation has thrown up questions for the wider society, in that we need to shape a shared future and decide whether decisions should be based on our past. Of course I can see why victims of the past should be considered but those I have heard speaking about Ms McLaughlin’s appointment since the news became public, have been more than gracious. I think we can learn a lot from them about how we move forward.

“Ms McLaughlin is a more than capable teacher and she is in school working this week despite the difficult situation she has been facing.

“However, I would encourage any parents who are worried, or who have any questions, to contact the school where I would be more than happy to talk to them.”