Enoch Burke’s appeal against a High Court injunction preventing him from attending or teaching at the secondary school where he worked is expected to be heard next week.
r Burke has spent more than a month in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin for contempt of court after defying orders to stay away from and not attempt to teach pupils at Wilson’s Hospital School in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.
His appeal is expected to appear before the Dublin Criminal Court on Friday 14 October. Official confirmation of the hearing date is expected shortly.
Mr Burke ran afoul of school authorities after he objected to a request from the principal to address a transgender student by a new name, using the pronoun ‘she’ instead of ‘he’.
As an evangelical Christian, Mr. Burke claimed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. His views led to a series of incidents at the Diocese of Church of Ireland’s boarding school, which eventually led the board to suspend him on full pay on August 24.
However, Mr. Burke continued to attend each day for the hours he should have taught had he not been suspended.
The board obtained injunctions from the High Court on August 30 preventing him from attending the school or attempting to teach pupils.
He was jailed on September 5 for contempt of court for repeatedly violating the restraining orders.
In the appeal papers filed yesterday, Mr Burke indicated that he would not appeal against the High Court’s orders sentencing him to prison for contempt. Instead, he will seek the appeals court to vacate orders, including the grant of the restraining order preventing him from showing up for work and the subsequent decision to maintain the restraining order pending the final hearing of the matter.
He will also appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of an application he had made to have his suspension lifted from the school.
Should he succeed in this, he would be released from prison, as the orders he disobeyed would be gone.
Mr Burke has said on several occasions he will not remove his contempt by pledging to comply with the restraining order.
He claimed in court last month that he would be “giving in to something wrong” if he did so.
His brother Isaac, who accompanied him yesterday as he filed his appeal papers, told reporters his brother had “no intention” of removing his contempt.
Mr Burke has attempted to portray the case as “about transgenderism”.
However, this has been disputed by lawyers for the board, who have argued that the issue is not his denial of transgenderism but his refusal to comply with a court order.
When Mr. Burke applied for a September 14 injunction preventing the school from continuing his suspension, he alleged the suspension violated various articles of the Constitution relating to personality rights, freedom of conscience and the professional practice of religion.
He also unsuccessfully sought explanations that his suspension was “unfair, unjust and illegal” and that a report by former school principal Niamh McShane, who contributed to his suspension, did not fairly present the facts.
The report detailed the aftermath of a dinner at which the school alleged that Mr Burke heatedly questioned Ms McShane about a request that the student address the student by a new name.
It also outlined details of an incident in which Mr Burke interrupted a chapel service marking the school’s 260th anniversary to express his disapproval of the application.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/after-more-than-a-month-in-jail-teacher-enoch-burkes-appeal-is-likely-to-be-heard-at-the-end-of-next-week-42044135.html After more than a month in prison, teacher Enoch Burke’s appeal is expected to be heard late next week