In Ireland, a number of people in authority are currently under investigation by the police over the bullying of schoolchildren.
A report into the investigation by an inquiry into the matter by the Department of Education and Skills (DES), which was released last month, also revealed the Department has launched an investigation into the conduct of officials and a number have been charged.
The Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DECOR) said it is conducting a “wide-ranging” investigation into bullying at schools.
The department said it has also launched a criminal investigation into five former DECOR officials.
In the first of these, former DECORD chief executive Patrick O’Donnell, who was previously a DECOR employee, is under investigation for alleged bullying of a student.
In response to the report, former minister of education, education and skills, Brendan Howlin, said the current investigations into DECOR were “complex and lengthy”.
It is understood the investigation into Mr O’Neill’s conduct was prompted by an incident in which two schoolchildren in one school were bullied, one by the former chief executive of DECOR and another by a local councillor. “
These investigations will be carried out in accordance with the guidance from the Dail and Cabinet Office and I have instructed all departments involved to cooperate fully with these investigations.”
It is understood the investigation into Mr O’Neill’s conduct was prompted by an incident in which two schoolchildren in one school were bullied, one by the former chief executive of DECOR and another by a local councillor.
Mr O, who had been on leave since the bullying allegations first emerged, was arrested on Wednesday and has been bailed pending a trial.
“This is a complex and lengthy investigation that I would urge all departments to cooperate with,” he said.
A spokesman for the Department for Education and Schools said: ‘The department has taken all steps to ensure that our employees are fit and proper to work in any capacity within the department and is providing a safe and supportive environment for all of our staff.’
A number of DECORS staff have also been placed on leave over the investigation.
An investigation into DECORD’s conduct in the face of the bullying is expected to conclude later this year.