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Two of Enoch Burke’s siblings complain to Garda Ombudsman over ejection from Court of Appeal

Details of the complaints emerged as the High Court today begins hearing the trial of the dispute between Wilson’s Hospital School and Mr Burke.

Ammi Burke. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Shane PhelanIndependent.ie

Members of Enoch Burke’s family have made complaints to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) over the manner in which gardaí ejected them from the Court of Appeal earlier this month.

Details of the complaints emerged as the High Court today begins hearing the trial of the dispute between Wilson’s Hospital School and Mr Burke.

There were unprecedented scenes at the Court of Appeal on March 7 when at least ten gardaí intervened to remove Mr Burke, three of his siblings and both of his parents from the court after they twice interrupted the delivery of a ruling.

Following the second interruption, the president of the court, Mr Justice George Birmingham, abandoned his efforts to read out the judgment. It was later released electronically instead.

The interruptions came after members of the Burke family took exception to comments made by the judge in his ruling, shouting loudly up at the bench.

Complaints were filed with GSOC by Ammi Burke and Simeon Burke on March 24, according to documents seen by Independent.ie.

Ms Burke, a solicitor, was the first of the family to be removed from the courtroom amid chaotic scenes.

Simeon Burke, who is studying to be a barrister, was the second to be removed. He was subsequently charged with engaging in threatening, insulting and abusive words and has been in custody since then.

Both claimed to have suffered injuries and shock as a result of their removal.

During the incident, which lasted around ten minutes, members of the Burke family refused to comply with requests from garda to leave the courtroom.

One by one the family members were removed despite strongly resisting, holding onto benches and each other as gardaí sought to get them out.

Also removed were Enoch Burke, his brother Isaac and parents Sean and Martina.

Ammi Burke named three gardaí in her complaint. She claimed the gardaí had “no warrant or authority” to remove members of the public from the courtroom.

Ms Burke said her removal was filmed and broadcast on television and online, attracting millions of views.

She said she did not know why she had been removed in the manner she was.

“I am a solicitor and educator. I am well respected in my local community where I teach many young families. My reputation is severely damaged,” she said.

“I have received multiple messages from the public, including visits to my home, by those shocked at the actions of the Gardaí in this matter.”

In his complaint, Simeon Burke identified six gardaí and one garda reserve.

He said he was left “injured, bleeding and in shock” and claimed he was being “prevented” from taking his degree examinations at King’s Inns.

Simeon Burke has twice refused to accept bail since being arrested and charged and is due to appear in the District Court again today. He claims he was unlawfully arrested.

Members of the Burke family have been involved in several courtroom confrontations since Wilson’s Hospital School secured injunctions restraining Enoch Burke from attending at its premises in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath.

The teacher of history and German was suspended last August following a number of incidents in which he clashed with school management over a request that teachers call a transgender student by a new name and by “they/them” pronouns.

Mr Burke, who is from a family of evangelical Christians from Castlebar, Co Mayo, refused to comply with the request on religious grounds.

He subsequently defied court orders and spent 108 days in prison for contempt of court. However, he has continued to show up at the school since his release and is currently being fined €700 for each day he remains in contempt.

During two separate sittings of the High Court last month, Mr Justice Brian O’Moore directed that Enoch Burke be removed by gardaí.

The judge accused Mr Burke and Ammi Burke of making “groundless complaints” and “abusive comments” following one of the incidents, where there was a stand-off when both refused to leave his courtroom.

Last October, both Enoch Burke and Martina Burke were escorted by gardaí from the Court of Appeal.

Mrs Burke was removed after the mother of ten made unsubstantiated claims that Enoch Burke was being incarcerated at the time “because of corrupt judges who denied their vow to uphold the constitution”.

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