Enoch Burke ordered to remain in prison while still receiving full salary

The High Court judge ruled Enoch Burke will remain in prison despite the escalating costs of his detention and his refusal to pay fines.

The image shows Enoch Burke who will remain in prison following yesterday's court hearing. It is a head and shoulders closeup taken in an outdoor setting. He is wearing a navy blue suit and tie, and a white shirt. He has a sullen look on his face and is wearing glasses.
Image: @JamesWims via X

Following a review of his case on Tuesday, February 27, it has been confirmed that Enoch Burke will remain in prison pending a further court hearing at the end of March.

Burke was brought before Mr Justice Mark Shafney to review his ongoing refusal to purge his contempt of court and to comply with court orders barring him from attending Wilson’s Hospital School in Co. Westmeath.

During the hearing, Burke maintained his stance, prompting Justice Shafney to further extend his incarceration. In making his ruling, the judge said he was doing so “with regret” but that he had been left with “very little option” and, therefore, saw no reason to alter his previous decision.

Responding to the verdict, Enoch Burke asserted that the court was asking him “to do something wrong” and complying with the order would be “evil”.

Burke was first arrested on September 5, 2022, when he broke his suspension from the school and breached an injunction mandating him to stay away from the institution. The suspension and subsequent injunction allegedly followed Burke’s conduct at a school event in June of that year, where he publicly disputed a transgender student’s ‘they/them’ pronouns and harassed the principal. 

The school had requested that he respect the student’s gender identity, with Burke allegedly saying that a belief system was being forced upon the students and that transgenderism goes against the school’s ethos and the teaching of the Church of Ireland.

Since then, Enoch Burke has served a total of 281 days in prison across two terms at an estimated cost of €67,000 to taxpayers. He has also not yet paid any of the court fines imposed for his ongoing attendance at the school whilst he was released from prison.

It is estimated that he has also received up to €72,000 in salary from the Department of Education since his suspension 18 months ago, despite having been officially dismissed from the school. In compliance with labour laws, Burke is currently challenging his dismissal, meaning he is still in receipt of his salary pending the outcome of the challenge.

During yesterday’s hearing, Justice Shafney said he was adjourning the matter until late March in order to review what he referred to as a “profoundly unsatisfactory situation”. He also instructed the school’s lawyers to make submissions on possible alternatives to the teacher’s incarceration, suggesting that seizing Burke’s assets may be a suitable alternative.

© 2024 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.