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Enoch Burke and family: What is the status of the cases, complaints and challenges?

Judge to review Enoch Burke’s continued imprisonment after he failed to stay away from Wilson’s Hospital School

A High Court judge will this week review Enoch Burke’s continued imprisonment over his contempt of High Court orders to stay away from a Co Westmeath school.

Friday marked day 200 of Mr Burke’s imprisonment in Mountjoy Prison over his contempt of orders made in August and September 2022 to stay away from Wilson’s Hospital School.

Mr Burke, with an address at Cloonsunna, Castlebar, Co Mayo, served almost 100 days in prison last year but was released by the High Court just before Christmas 2022 without purging his contempt of the orders.

After he resumed attending at the school in January 2023 when the new term opened, the High Court directed that fines of €700 be imposed on him for each day of his attendance.

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He was jailed again, on the application of the school, on September 8th, over his continued attendance there. Mr Justice Mark Heslin was told the school felt it had no other option and his continued attendance there was disruptive to staff and students.

On October 3rd, after Mr Burke refused to purge his contempt, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey directed he remain in prison and said he would review the matter on December 12th.

It remained open to Mr Burke to apply to the court any time before that date to purge his contempt, the judge said.

Mr Burke last March lost his appeal over the High Court injunctions restraining him staying away from the school, pending a disciplinary process concerning his behaviour at a school event in June 2022 when he confronted the then principal over a direction issued to teachers to address a student by their chosen new name and using the pronouns “they/them”.

Following a full hearing of the dispute between Mr Burke and the school, the High Court last July rejected his complaints over how the school dealt with him arising from the events of June 2022.

Mr Justice Alexander Owens found he had been lawfully suspended.

The judge made an order restraining him trespassing on the school premises but said he was not prevented from attending outside the school gates.

Mr Burke has taken a separate challenge over the composition of a three-person panel to hear his appeal over a decision, following a disciplinary hearing, to dismiss him from his teaching position over gross misconduct.

On Friday, a Court of Appeal judge adjourned to January 15th a separate application in which the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and the DPP want access to a digital audio recording (DAR) of events at the Court of Appeal on March 7th when it gave judgment rejecting Mr Burke’s appeal over the injunctions retraining him attending at the school.

The court previously ruled Gsoc and the DPP were entitled to the recording of events before the judges left the bench due to delivery of their judgment being interrupted by some members of the Burke family but were not entitled to the recording of events after the judges left the bench. It left open the possibility of a further application in that regard and will hear submissions on January 15th.

Enoch Burke is opposing release of the DAR concerning events after the judges left the bench.

Arising from the events at the appeal court on March 7th, Simeon Burke, a brother of Enoch’s, was arrested and later convicted of an offence under the Public Order Act for engaging in threatening, insulting and abusive words and behaviour on or about the Four Courts, Inns Quay, on March 7th.

He has appealed that conviction and he and Ammi Burke have made complaints to Gsoc against certain gardaí in relation to the events on March 7th.

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