Enoch Burke loses challenge to remove “promoter of transgenderism” from appeals panel

Burke was originally suspended from his teaching position after harassing the school's principal and publicly disputing a student's use of 'they/them' pronouns.

An image of Enoch Burke, who lost a High Court challenge to remove a
Image: X: @therealshow67

Enoch Burke has lost a High Court challenge he took to remove Kieran Christie, whom he describes as a “promoter of transgenderism”, from the appeals panel that will hear his case against his dismissal from Wilson’s Hospital School in Westmeath. Mr Justice Conor Dignam delivered the decision – the latest development in the ongoing legal battle – on Wednesday, December 20.

Enoch Burke claimed that Christie, a member of the three-person appeals panel, is “an activist for transgenderism” through his role as general secretary of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI). He added that under Christie’s leadership, the ASTI is “becoming a vehicle for the promotion of transgenderism”.

In his argument, Burke referenced the panellist’s history of engaging with Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and that Christie has presented an ASTI achievement award to a teacher in Cork who helped students establish a sexuality and gender acceptance group in their school. He also noted that the man was a member of the Children’s Rights Alliance, which previously recommended that legislation be introduced to allow children over 16 to change their gender without parental consent.

Having heard Mr Burke’s challenge, Mr Justice Dignam was satisfied that any reasonable person would not believe that Mr Christie is personally or objectively biased against the former teacher. He added that there was “not even a starting point” for the claim that the panellist promotes ‘transgenderism’, and the “mere fact of membership of an association” does not automatically mean Christie shares all of its views.

Furthermore, the judge said that the only evidence of Christie having a relationship with TENI was when he met a representative from the organisation once in 2016 when he attended a seminar which included a discussion on how schools might deal with transgender children.

“One meeting with a TENI representative seven years ago would not cause the reasonable person to consider that Mr Christie has a close working relationship with TENI over many years,” Justice Dignam explained.

“It is abundantly clear that Mr Burke has his ideology based on his religious belief and it appears that he believes that anyone who does not subscribe to the same position as him on this issue has a contrary ideology, ie. transgenderism,” the judge continued.

Enoch Burke was originally suspended by Wilson’s Hospital in June 2022 after harassing the principal and publicly disputing a student’s use of ‘they/them’ pronouns at a school event. The former teacher was then jailed in September of the same year for refusing to comply with a court order prohibiting him from accessing the premises, and he remained in Mountjoy Prison for 108 days.

Burke was officially dismissed from his role in January, and was incarcerated again in September after continuing to show up at the school, despite receiving daily fines. He remains in prison to this day, but can be freed at any time should he agree to purge his contempt of court.

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