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12th Dec 2023

Enoch Burke will spend Christmas in prison after refusing to comply with high court order

Simon Kelly

Enoch Burke

The Burke family were thrown out of court by Gardaí for interrupting proceedings.

Enoch Burke will remain in prison for Christmas after he refused to comply with a High Court order to stay away from the school he used to work at.

The secondary school teacher was back in court on Tuesday, December 12, to see if he was willing to purge his contempt by giving an undertaking that he would obey the order.

However, during proceedings, the judge said that Mr Burke, who was jailed for the second time in September, showed no signs of purging his contempt and that he was to remain in prison until his case is reviewed again in February 2024.

The teacher apparently refused to give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer when the judge asked him if he would purge his contempt, instead giving a pre-prepared speech criticising judges involved in the case.

Enoch Burke case

Enoch Burke’s family ejected by Gardaí in latest court appearance

During Tuesday’s proceedings, lawyers for Burke’s former employers, Wilson’s Hospital School in Co. Westmeath, said that if the teacher refused again to purge his contempt, they would ask with “great reluctance” that he stays in prison.

Mr. Burke’s family, his mother Martina, sister Ammi, father Sean and brother Isaac, who are evangelical Christians from Castlebar, Co Mayo, interrupted proceedings five times, which the judge said was as “orchestrated” to cause “maximum disruption.”

The family were eventually ejected from the court by Gardaí for their continuous interruptions.

Mr. Burke has now spent more than 200 days in prison since he first defied orders to stay away from the school in Multyfarnham.

His suspension and eventual sacking stemmed from his refusal to call a transgender pupil by a new name and they/them pronouns. He claimed his refusal was on religious grounds.

Mr. Burke’s next review date is set for February 27.

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Enoch Burke