appeal hearing | 

Trans row teacher Enoch Burke’s fresh bid for freedom to be heard in court today

Evangelical Christian will ask the court to set aside orders including the temporary injunction restraining him from attending for work

Schoolteacher Enoch Burke has been in Mountjoy Prison for almost six weeks. Photo: Collins


Jailed schoolteacher Enoch Burke will begin a fresh bid to be released from prison today when his case comes before the Court of Appeal.

Burke has spent almost six weeks in Mountjoy Prison after being jailed for contempt of court for breaching orders restraining him from attending at his workplace or attempting to teach students.

The board of management of Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath secured the orders after he continued to turn up for work despite being suspended on August 24 pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.

The evangelical Christian was suspended after clashing with school management over a request that teachers address a transgender student by a new name and use the pronoun “they”.

He objected to the request, saying to comply with it would violate his religious beliefs.

Burke is not appealing the order jailing him for contempt of court and has refused to purge his contempt on several occasions.

However, he will ask the Court of Appeal to set aside orders including the temporary injunction restraining him from attending for work, and a subsequent High Court decision to keep the injunction in place pending a final hearing of the matter.

He is also appealing against the High Court’s dismissal of an application brought by him aimed at setting aside his suspension. Should he be successful, it is likely he would be released from prison as the orders he is in contempt of would fall away.

A directions hearing is due to take place before Mr Justice John Edwards this morning, at which it should become clear how soon the Court of Appeal will conduct a full hearing of the appeal.

Mr Burke is also set to appear in the High Court today where he is due to make an application seeking the prohibition of further publication or republication of a Sunday Independent article which he claims defamed him.

His sister Ammi Burke, a solicitor, told the court yesterday she was seeking an “urgent” production order to enable her brother to seek an interim order pursuant to section 33 of the Defamation Act 2009 “against the Sunday Independent, the Irish Independent and others restraining the further publication of a defamatory article”. She said the article her brother objected to was published by the Sunday Independent on October 9, under the headline: “Burke moved to new jail cell ‘after annoying other prisoners’.”

Enoch Burke. Photo: Collins

Mr Justice Brian O’Moore ordered Burke be produced to the court today.

The newspaper denies that the cited report was defamatory of Burke.

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