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Enoch Burke. Alamy Stock Photo
High Court

School must compile a list of times Enoch Burke was in contempt of court order

Burke has been fined €700 a day for being in breach of a court order to stay away from Wilson’s Hospital School.

THE SCHOOL AT the centre of the Enoch Burke case has been directed by a High Court judge to provide a list of the times the former teacher has been in breach of a court order.

This document must be given to Burke so that he can reply – it will then be used by the judge to fix costs.

Issues including a review of the Co Mayo teacher’s alleged on-going failure to comply with a High Court injunction to stay away from the Co Westmeath secondary school, Wilson’s Hospital School, which has resulted in him being fined €700 a day, were scheduled to be mentioned before the judge at 10am this morning.

However, when the case was called before Mr Justice Brian O’Moore Burke was not present in court.

The judge decided to adjourn the case for a few minutes to see if Burke would show up. However, after waiting for a few minutes the judge opted to proceed despite Burke’s absence at around 10-08am.

The judge said that case was listed before him to deal with issues including who should pay the legal costs of two motions that have been brought in the case, and to review Burke’s compliance with orders of the court.

The judge said that he wanted the school to file a sworn statement, which is to include details of each and every occasion the school claims Burke has been in contempt of the High Court injunction since the matter was last before the High Court.

The court added that it wants the school to provide it with a note setting out who should pay the costs of the two motions, which concern Burke’s contempt following his release from prison, and in relation to a stay he sought on the full hearing of his dispute with the school.

The stay, which was refused by the High Court, was to remain in place until his appeal against the injunction has been determined by the Court of Appeal.

Mr Justice O’Moore told the school’s legal team that he did not want to hear from them in the absence of Burke.

The judge said that both those documents should be furnished to Burke, and he can reply to them of this week if he so wishes.

The exchange should take place over the coming days the judge said.

The judge adjourned the matters before him but did not say when these issues are to return before the court, and rose around 10.12am.

Minutes after the judge rose Burke, accompanied by his patents and two of his siblings, arrived in the courtroom.

After discussing matters among themselves, and speaking to the Court registrar, Burke and his family departed the courtroom around 10.25am.

Court battle

Burke and the school have been engaged in a court battle after he claims he was wrongfully suspended, before being dismissed from his job earlier this year, and his constitutional rights breached over his religious objections to referring to a student at the school who wishes to transition as a they rather than a ‘he.’

The school suspended, and following a disciplinary process purportedly dismissed the teacher due Burke’s alleged misconduct.

He denies any wrongdoing, says the disciplinary process is flawed, and arises out of his opposition to transgendarism, which he aired at school events last year.

Arising out of his refusal to comply with a High Court order granted last September, Burke was jailed for 108 days for contempt.

He was released without purging his contempt shortly before Christmas, but was warned by Mr Justice O’Moore about his future behaviour.

However, he has continued to attend at the school’s campus resulting in Mr Justice O’Moore imposing a €700 a day fine on him. That fine is now in excess of €22,000.

On his two previous appearances before Mr Justice O’Moore, Burke was physically removed from the courtroom by gardaí after the judge refused to listen to the teacher’s submissions on issues relating to his on-going legal battle with the school, which suspended and purportedly dismissed him from his job.

Burke’s case was not listed before the court on those previous occasions, and the judge said that the Co Mayo teacher had not taken the appropriate procedural steps that would allow him to raise his case with the judge.

Burke has appealed the injunctions, which are to remain in place pending the outcome of the full High Court dispute between the parties, granted in favour of the school las

September preventing him from attending at the Co Westmeath’s school’s premises.
Judgement in that appeal by the three judge Court of Appeal has been reserved.

However, the President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham has warned Burke that it may not rule on the teacher’s application to set aside the injunctions due to his on-going refusal to comply with the orders of the court.

The full hearing of the dispute between Burke and Wilson’s Hospital school will be heard later this year.

Aodhan O Faolain