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Enoch Burke Leah Farrell/
disciplinary process

Why is Enoch Burke still receiving his full teacher's salary?

Education Minister Norma Foley has said that an appeal against the school board’s decision to dismiss Burke remains live.

AFTER MORE THAN 280 days in prison, Enoch Burke continues to receive his full salary from Wilson’s Hospital School.

This hit the headlines earlier this week across national media and Education Minister Norma Foley ended up getting asked to comment on the matter.

Foley told reporters that an appeal against the school board’s decision to dismiss him remains live, though she indicated that a date for a hearing may be arranged soon.

Mr Justice Mark Sanfey noted yesterday in the High Court that Burke continues to be paid his salary, pending his appeal against the school’s decision to dismiss him.

As long as the case remains live, Burke will be paid his full salary according to trade union sources familiar with similar cases.

It can be a way of dealing with an employee’s case without prejudicing the outcome, one source added.

The disciplinary appeals panel for teachers includes an independent chair from a panel nominated by the minister, a member of a school management body and a representative from a teachers’ union.


Burke has been imprisoned since September after he again refused to comply with a High Court order to stay away from the school in Co Westmeath.

Burke, who the court heard has not paid any of the fines or costs imposed on him by the courts, is set to remain in Mountjoy Prison after he again refused to comply with a High Court order to stay away from his employer’s premises.

The dismissal from his position as a German and History teacher came after he was found by the school’s board of management to have engaged in behaviour that amounted to gross misconduct.

Burke denies ever engaging in conduct that could be considered gross misconduct.

He has also maintained that his dismissal was over his objection around transgender rights issues.

Previously, Burke had voiced his strong objections to an request by the school to refer to a student, who was transitioning the time, by a different name and pronouns.

When asked about the case this week, Minister Foley said that it’s the school that “must make the decision” around the payment of Burke’s salary.

She also pointed to the appeals process remaining ongoing.

“It is my understanding also that the appeals board… is seeking to put in place a date now that the injunction has been resolved,” she said, adding that it must decide on an “appropriate time and place” for the hearing.

Public eye

One education source said that not all teachers see their salary continue to be paid in full after entering into a disciplinary process.

However, Burke’s case has dominated headlines. One source told The Journal that can help ensure an employer “watches their Ps and Qs” and avoids any action that could be viewed as bringing further tension – including docking pay.

Representation for the school told the court this week that it does not wish to see Burke in jail, but wants the orders of the court to be obeyed.

Counsel also told the court that the school wanted to make it clear that its position is that Burke is “entitled to hold whatever views he wishes”.

Speaking to media yesterday, Foley also said that there were “obligations” from a legal point of view in terms of “the care of an employee”.

During court proceedings this week, Burke said that he has spent almost a year behind bars because he was being punished for his religious beliefs, his opposition to ‘transgenderism’ and his refusal to comply with a direction from the school to address a student by a different pronoun.

Additional reporting by Aodhan O Faolain and David Mac Redmond