Enoch Burke to stay in prison after refusing to stay away from school, again

Enoch Burke stands beside a grey school gate, looking down on the floor.

Teacher Enoch Burke is set to remain in prison for the Christmas period after refusing, once again, to stay away from the school he used to work at.

Burke was sent to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, Ireland for a second time in September after “flagrantly” breaching a High Court injunction that required him to stay away from Wilson’s Hospital School in County Westmeath.

During a court appearance on Tuesday (12 December), Burke was told that he’d be released from prison if he simply complied with the court order.

A picture of Enoch Burke, who failed in a bid to be released from prison.
Enoch Burke will remain in Mountjoy Prison over the Christmas holidays. (@DrHaroldNews/Twitter)

Burke, joined in the court by members of his family, told Mr Justice Mark Sanfey that he still refused to comply and said that would, in his eyes, equate to “giving up” his religious beliefs and endorsing “transgenderism,” the Irish Times reports.

Burke, an Evangelical Christian, was suspended from Wilson’s Hospital School after allegedly confronting the school’s head teacher and disrupting school events after being directed to use the correct pronouns of a transgender student.

The teacher was jailed, not for his refusal to use the correct pronouns, but because he refused to accept his suspension and continued to go back to the school. 

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The school board claims that Burke was present on the school campus every day since the 2023-24 school year commenced in August, causing a “severe disruption for staff and students.”

Throughout Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey left the bench a total of five times due to interruptions from various members of Burke’s family – some of whom were removed from court during the hearing, RTE reports.

Members of Enoch Burke's family are seen walking with him in the rain.
Members of Enoch Burke’s family were removed from the court for disrupting the hearing. (Twitter/@spillaneda)

The hearing was also disrupted by Burke’s submissions, which he refused to stop making despite pleas from the judge and lawyers for the school.

During his submissions, Burke accused the Westmeath school and its lawyers of engaging in an “obstruction of justice” by refusing to release the minutes of the school board meetings that led to his suspension.

Ignoring repeated calls from the judge to clarify whether he was willing to purge his contempt of court, Burke’s submissions continued.

In another submission, Burke claimed that he had spent over 200 days in Mountjoy Prison – “a place for drug barons, armed robbers, murderers and those who conspire to commit murder” – between his two arrests because he refused to accept the demand that teachers accept “transgenderism” and refused to deny his “Christian beliefs in male and female”.

At one point Burke, himself, was removed from the court for refusing to make submissions that the judge said had no relevance to Tuesday’s hearing.

The judge ruled that it was clear Burke had no intention of purging his contempt and, as a result, the order that he be brought to prison could remain.

Burke will be kept in Mountjoy Prison until he agrees to abide by the court order.

While the next review is scheduled for 27 February, Mr Justice Sanfey reminded the teacher that he could come to court at any time to purge his contempt.