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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Diarmuid Pepper/The Journal Enoch Burke pictured outside the school today
Wilson's Hospital School

Enoch Burke leaves school for second time today after being arrested and released by gardaí

Burke was dismissed by Wilson’s Hospital School last week.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 24th 2023, 4:05 PM

ENOCH BURKE HAS left Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath for a second time today following his return to the premises after being arrested and later released by gardaí.

Burke initially attended the school this morning, despite being dismissed from his position last week after months of discord between the school and its former teacher.

Burke was seen entering the grounds of the school in Co Westmeath this morning days after a statement confirmed that he was being released from his position.

Gardaí were called to the scene after Burke refused to leave.

A garda spokesperson confirmed to The Journal that a man was arrested at the school under the Public Order Act 1994 and taken to Mullingar Garda Station.

“He has subsequently been released pending the submission of a file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. An Garda Síochána has no further information available at this time,” a statement noted.

After being released by gardaí, Burke returned to the school, where he stood outside the main gate.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Burke claimed he has been treated unfairly by school management and that his religious beliefs have been “mocked”.

“I’ve done my work well, I would say, for the past four years,” Burke said.

He described last week’s disciplinary hearing – which resulted in him being fired – as “a total sham”.

When the gates were opened to allow vehicles onto the grounds of the school at around 3.20pm, Burke walked back in. However, he left the school just before 4pm after his father arrived to pick him up.

Burke was last week informed of the decision to sack him in person in the presence of the chairperson of the board of management and school principal.

The disciplinary proceedings stemmed from allegations about Burke’s behaviour towards former principal Niamh McShane at a school function last June. Burke claims his suspension related to his opposition to the school’s direction to refer to a student by their chosen name and pronouns.

High Court case

Last Wednesday, a High Court judge refused to grant Burke an injunction to halt disciplinary proceedings against him after the teacher said he would not comply with a previous court order to stay away from the school.

The court said it would be prepared to grant the injunction if the teacher was prepared to comply with an order granted last September directing him to stay away from the school while he is suspended on pay.

However, Burke informed the court that he would not be complying with the order, which he argued was flawed and in breach of his constitutional rights.

Burke appeared at the school earlier this month on 5 January after he was released from prison and schools reopened post-Christmas despite the court order against him. 

The High Court is expected to rule this week on an application by the school to sequester Burke’s assets over his refusal to comply with the order not to attend at the school. The school asked Justice Brian O’Moore to consider either sequestering or removing Burke’s assets or fining him over his refusal to comply.

Contains reporting by Diarmuid Pepper and Órla Ryan