Enoch Burke could be sent back to prison for allegedly refusing to stay away from Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath

A large part of the principal’s and his staff’s working day is occupied dealing with Mr Burke’s presence at Wilson’s Hospital, the Supreme Court’s attorney told the

During the Supreme Court’s furlough session on Tuesday, attorneys representing the school’s board said their client had obtained an order for attachment and detention of Mr Burke for his alleged refusal to comply with an injunction issued by Mr Justice Alexander Owens earlier in the year , requested.

This order prevents Mr. Burke from attending Wilson’s Hospital unless he receives express permission to do so from the school authorities.

Rosemary Mallon BL for the Board told Ms Judge Emily Egan that Mr Burke had attended the school every day since the start of the new school year at the end of August, from which he was suspended and eventually fired.

Mr Burke has claimed that the committee’s actions against him are based on his opposition to “transgenderism” and his deeply held Christian beliefs.

The board denies this allegation.

Ms Mallon said his visit both “outside and inside the school” constituted a violation of the injunction issued by Mr Justice Owens.

“The terms of this order could not be clearer,” the attorney said, adding that “Mr. Burke was fully aware of the orders made by Mr. Judge Owens and a copy of them was served on him.”

His continued presence at the school “causes serious disruption to staff and students,” the attorney said.

A large part of the principal’s day, Mr Frank Milling, and his staff is occupied with the presence of Mr Burke at Wilson’s Hospital, the solicitor said.

On occasion, Mr Milling has had to “close doors” to prevent Mr Burke from entering the school, the lawyer added.

The attorney said the board returned to court “with great reluctance” 12 months after the initial lawsuit against Mr Burke.

The attorney said that following his suspension in August 2022, Mr Burke failed to comply with a court order against him last year that required him to stay away from school.

This led to his incarceration in Mountjoy Prison for several months.

He was released just before Christmas without expressing contempt or offering a commitment.

After the holidays, he began attending school again and the Supreme Court fined Mr Burke €700 a day, the lawyer said.

However, the move had no effect on Mr Burke’s behavior and he attended the school until the end of the school year last May, the lawyer said.

The attorney said Mr Burke also appealed the decision to fire him from his position as a German and history teacher.

Other options were considered, including talks with the Gardaí and hiring private security guards.

However, for a variety of reasons, these options were not deemed viable, Ms Mallon said.

In these circumstances, the school board moved to bring Mr. Burke to court to deal with the allegation that he continues to disobey the injunction prohibiting him from attending the school.

Ms Judge Egan, who called the lengthy process between the school and Mr Burke “a saga,” said she was satisfied with the mutual consent of the school board to serve Mr Burke’s application on short notice.

The judge ordered Mr. Burke to be served the attachment and detention order personally and adjourned the matter to Friday’s court holiday session.

The board’s request is the latest in a high-profile legal battle that resulted from the suspension and dismissal of Mr Burke from the Co Westmeath school.

In his ruling last May, Judge Owens said the school was entitled to suspend Mr Burke in August 2022, issue a permanent injunction barring him from visiting its premises and award €15,000 in damages for his ongoing trespassing payable to the school campus at Multyfarnham Co Westmeath.

The judge said the school’s decision to suspend Mr Burke was “rational and reasonable” after expressing his strong objections to a request by the school to match one student, who allegedly wanted to change gender at the time, with another denoting names and by another pronoun.

The teacher claimed that such an order was a violation of his rights and religious beliefs.

The court heard evidence of Mr Burke’s behavior at a school event in June where he publicly expressed his objections to “transgenderism” and at subsequent meetings in August 2022 where his conduct was discussed.

Mr. Burke, who denied any wrongdoing and had filed a counterclaim, finding that the disciplinary action taken against him was unlawful and, after voicing his objections to an order from the school, named a student at the school by a different name and pronoun to designate in violation of his rights.

However, his counterclaim was dismissed by the court.

Mr. Burke has appealed the three-person panel established to hear his appeal against his dismissal from his teaching post.

The verdict in this separate case against the panel is awaited.

https://www.sundayworld.com/crime/courts/enoch-burke-could-be-sent-back-to-jail-over-alleged-refusal-to-stay-away-from-school/a1318679081.html Enoch Burke could be sent back to prison for allegedly refusing to stay away from Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath


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