We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

File photo of Enoch Burke.
Enoch Burke

Enoch Burke appears at Westmeath school for a second day despite High Court order

A High Court judge previously said the only threat to Burke’s continued freedom would arise if he again breaches any existing order of the court.

TEACHER ENOCH BURKE has appeared at Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath for a second day in a row, despite a High Court order barring him from the school.

Burke is employed by the school as a German and history teacher but was suspended on full pay in August over allegations of misconduct made against him.

As part of the terms of his suspension he was directed to stay away from the school until the disciplinary process had been completed.

However, he appeared at the school yesterday and again this morning. 

In a statement to The Journal about Burke’s appearance at the school despite a court order being in place, a garda spokesperson said: “An Garda Síochána are aware of the matters as highlighted.

“As these matters refer to a civil order, An Garda Síochána has no role at this time.”

Meanwhile, Wilson’s Hospital School said it had no comment to make.

Burke claims the row centres around his objection to describing a student at the school, who wishes to transition, as ‘they’.

He had told a court during his contempt of court hearing that he believed he was put behind bars because of his religious objections to “transgenderism”.

The school claimed that he refused to comply with its direction, and obtained a High Court injunction preventing Burke from attending and attempting to teach any classes at the school.

Arising out of his failure to comply with the court order, he was deemed to be in contempt of court and was incarcerated at Mountjoy Prison for three months.

On 21 December, the High Court ruled that Burke should be released from Mountjoy Prison, even though he had not purged his contempt.

Mr Justice O’Moore ordered that Burke be released from prison, stating that this was one of those “rare cases” where a coercive imprisonment should stop, for the moment.

Counsel in reply to the judge said that the school was concerned about potential disruption being caused by Burke after the school re-opens on 5 January if he were to be released.

However, in his ruling Mr Justice O’Moore said that he had to take several factors into consideration before arriving at his decision, including the attitude of the school, which did not oppose his release, the Christmas holidays, and the use of public funds.

The judge added that the school could come back to court and seek Burke’s attachment if he does not comply with the order to stay away from the school.

Burke was to remain at liberty until any further court order is made imprisoning him.

Despite this, Burke has appeared at the school since it returned from the Christmas break.

- With additional reporting from Aodhan O Faolain