Enoch Burke loses court battle against former school 2 weeks ago

Enoch Burke loses court battle against former school

Burke was also fined €15,000 for trespassing on school property.

Enoch Burke's former employer Wilson's Hospital School have won a High Court case which upheld its decision to suspend Burke last year.

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The school, which is situated in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, took the decision to suspend the former teacher in August of last year, following Burke's refusal to refer to a student by their preferred pronouns.

Wilson's Hospital School had themselves asked the High Court to rule that it was correct in its suspension of Burke pending the outcome of a disciplinary process against him.

Burke argued against this disciplinary process, his suspension from teaching and the subsequent decision to dismiss him, calling his former employer's acts "unlawful".

In delivering his verdict, Mr. Justice Alexander Ownes ruled that given the school was aware of Burke's actions in the classroom at the end of the previous academic year, and his ensuing behaviour at the following Board of Management meeting, that the school's decision to suspend Burke was "rational and reasonable".

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The judge added that the school had rightly held apprehension over Burke's capacity to engage in harmful or disruptive conduct if permitted to teach.

Mr. Justice Owens also awarded €15,000 in damages against Burke for trespassing on school property, with a further stipulation that he believes Burke should pay for the school's legal bills.

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Back in March, the Burke family were removed from the courts following their refusal to leave when instructed to do so.

The gardaí were told by the Burkes they had "no right" to remove any of the family members from a public courtroom. However, after several warnings were not complied with, Gardaí attempted to physically remove them.

Today's ruling comes off the back of news that the Wilson's Hospital School student in question has brought their own case before the High Court this week, seeking to take legal action against the school. Although, the details of that claim are yet to be outlined.

Burke continues to maintain that this case centres around his right to religious freedom of expression of his religious beliefs, and continues to claim that his dismissal from his teaching post was unlawful.

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