Enoch Burke physically removed from High Court by gardai after shouting at judge

Enoch Burke shouted: “Why am I being treated differently from the school? That is not justice Judge, to treat somebody differently from the school.”

Enoch Burke outside the entrance to Wilson's Hospital School in Co Westmeath. Picture by Gerry Mooney

Enoch Burke. Photo: Collins© Collins Photos


Dismissed schoolteacher Enoch Burke was physically removed from the High Court by gardaí today after again interrupting the court’s list.

It was the second time in four days that Mr Justice Brian O’Moore directed his removal from the court after he turned up seeking to raise issues when his case was not listed.

The latest incident occurred after he attended court this morning accompanied by his sister Ammi and parents Sean and Martina, and sought to make an application.

The judge asked Mr Burke if he had filed an ex parte, or one side only, docket.

Mr Burke said he did not believe he had to as he was only seeking clarification on court directions in his dispute with Wilson’s Hospital School. The issue relates to the school’s application to file an affidavit correcting errors in a previous filing.

Mr Justice O’Moore told Mr Burke he would not allow him to “hijack” the list and directed he be removed from the courtroom when he repeatedly talked over the judge. Three gardaí physically removed Mr Burke.

Enoch Burke. Photo: Collins© Collins Photos

The judge also directed his sister Ammi be removed after she repeatedly talked over him as well.

However, she left of her own volition without garda intervention.

Mr Burke had asked the judge if he was delaying consideration of the affidavit issue until after a separate aspect of the case is dealt with in the Court of Appeal this week.

Before her brother was removed, Ammi Burke loudly protested: “Mr Burke should not be removed from the court.”

She told the judge: “You are treating the school very differently from Mr Burke.”

Enoch Burke shouted: “Why am I being treated differently from the school? That is not justice Judge, to treat somebody differently from the school.”

Martina Burke also shouted at the judge.

“It is absolutely corrupt. You are covering up your tracks,” she said.

After the Burkes had left the courtroom, Mr Justice O’Moore apologised to the large number of lawyers who were present.

“It is absolutely intolerable that people are subjected to that,” the judge said.

Last Friday, Mr Justice O’Moore accused Enoch and Ammi Burke of making “groundless complaints” and “abusive comments” following a stand-off in which they both refused to leave his courtroom.

The judge twice rose from the bench when the Burkes protested and refused to leave the court after the judge said he would not deal with an application the schoolteacher wanted to make.

Their protests led to the court’s list, which contained 46 cases, being suspended for two hours.

Despite being hit with a daily fine of €700, Mr Burke has continued to show up each day at the school in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath.

Mr Burke has previously indicated he is unwilling to pay the fines.

Asked last month if he would pay, Mr Burke said: “I don’t believe I should pay it. I am putting it in the nicest possible way.”

The history and German teacher was suspended by the board of management last August after clashing with management over a request from then principal Niamh McShane that teachers comply with a transgender child’s wishes to be called by a new name and by their preferred pronouns.

Mr Burke, who is from a well-known family of evangelical Christians, publicly objected to the request on religious grounds. His suspension followed incidents in which he voiced his opposition to the request at a church service and following a school dinner.

However, he continued to show up for work, even after the school secured court orders restraining him from doing so.

This led to him being jailed for 108 days for contempt of court. He was eventually released just before Christmas despite not purging his contempt.

Mr Burke resumed attending at the school when it reopened on January 5 following the Christmas break.

The schoolteacher was dismissed from his post on January 20, a day after a disciplinary meeting descended into chaos amid objections and shouting by Mr Burke, his sister Ammi, brother Isaac and mother Martina.

The High Court subsequently issued a ruling on an application from the board of management seeking either the sequestration of his assets or the imposition of a fine.

Mr Justice O’Moore opted to impose a daily fine of €700, which he said could be increased if Mr Burke did not comply.

The judge said the fines “should persuade Mr Burke to end his utterly pointless attendance at a school which does not want him on its property”. However, they have not dissuaded him from doing so.

An appeal Mr Burke has against various High Court orders is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal this week.

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