Secondary school teacher, Enoch Burke, has been arrested and escorted by Gardaí to the High Court in Dublin today, 5 September. His arrest was ordered by Judge Miriam O’Regan last Friday when Mr Burke failed to attend court following an alleged breach of an injunction against him.
The injunction was granted to the board of management of Wilson’s Hospital School, where Mr Burke teaches in Westmeath, after he allegedly turned up on school grounds despite being on paid administrative leave.
It is reported that Mr Burke sat in an empty classroom on the premises last week, telling a senior staff member that he was there “to work” and “to attend a meeting”. The school, which is the Church of Ireland’s Diocesan School for Meath and Kildare, sought the injunction fearing that Mr Burke’s refusal to adhere to his suspension could be very disruptive to students and staff.
The suspension and subsequent injunction allegedly followed Mr Burke’s conduct at a school event in June, where he publicly disputed a Transgender student’s ‘they/them’ pronouns. The school had requested that he respect the student’s gender identity, with Mr 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.
His alleged conduct at the event prompted the paid suspension, the breaching of which led to the injunction. Mr Burke, who called his suspension “unreasonable, unjust and unlawful” has since been arrested and is due to appear in court this afternoon.
Legal representation for Wilson’s Hospital School has said that the school “is focusing on the needs and welfare of its students and is affirming its policy in accordance with the 2000 Equal Status Act of not discriminating against any student.” Counsel also said that court proceedings have been a “last resort” for the school.
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