Enoch Burke pleads with judge to be freed for Christmas but refuses to obey court order

Burke has once again refused to purge his contempt of court and will thus remain in jail for the Christmas period.

Enoch Burke, who recently pleaded with the court to be released for Christmas, escorted by police officers.
Image: Via Twitter - @ProgettoLepanto

Jailed teacher Enoch Burke will remain behind bars for the Christmas period due to his refusal to purge his contempt of court.

On Tuesday, December 13, Enoch Burke appeared via a video link in front of the High Court and pleaded with Justice Conor Dignam to use his discretion to “free me for Christmas”. Burke told the court that he was “not a thief, a murderer or a drug dealer” and that he was “in prison for my religious beliefs” and his objection to “transgenderism”.

In actual fact, Enoch Burke was jailed at Mountjoy Prison for contempt of court, something the justice system uses to ensure that court orders are obeyed. Burke was incarcerated because he refused to comply with a High Court injunction against him that was granted to his employer Wilson’s Hospital School where the man reportedly turned up despite being on paid administrative leave pending a disciplinary process.

The teacher was suspended for his alleged conduct at a school event in June, where he harassed the principal and publicly disputed a transgender student’s ‘they/them’ pronouns, saying that a belief system was being forced upon the students and that transgenderism goes against the institution’s ethos and the teaching of the Church of Ireland.

Burke has remained in jail since September but he could at any point secure his release by purging his contempt before the court. During the hearing on Tuesday, he once again refused to do so, saying that purging contempt would be in breach of his Christian beliefs and his duty to God.

After hearing his plea, Justice Conor Dignam refused to grant Burke’s release given that the teacher was not prepared to comply with “a valid court order”, as the judge described it. This decision prompted an angry response from Burke’s parents, Sean and Martina Burke, who were present in court and spoke against the ruling.


Sean Burke said he had brought his son up to have strong Christian values, claiming that opposition to “transgenderism” is written in the Bible, “from the book of Genesis to Revelations”. Burke’s mother said that the judges would face judgement from “a higher power” and “God Almighty” in relation to their decisions to not release her son.

After Burke’s parents finished addressing the court, Justice Dignam said that he was “not going to enter into a debate” with them and rose from the bench. Burke’s appeal against the injunctions obtained against him is due to come before the court in February.

© 2022 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.