Court dismisses Irish teacher Enoch Burke’s appeal to overturn injunction from school

Court dismisses Irish teacher Enoch Burke’s appeal to overturn injunction from school

JUDGES at the Court of Appeal in Ireland have dismissed sacked teacher Enoch Burke’s attempt to overturn a restraining order preventing him from attending his former school.

Mr Burke was suspended from his teaching role at Wilson's Hospital School in County Westmeath last year after refusing to follow a direction from the principle to refer to a transgender pupil by the pronoun, "they".

In January 2023 he was formally dismissed from his teaching position at the school, where he taught history and german, but he has continued to turn up at the establishment on numerous occasions since.

Mr Burke, who claims transgenderism does not accord with his Christian beliefs, appealed his injunction from the school at the Court of Appeal in Dublin this week, claiming the order made against him was “unconstitutional and unlawful”.

However, following a hearing on March 7, three judges unanimously dismissed his appeal.

In his judgement on the matter, the President of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham stated: “The position of the child at the centre of the controversy requires consideration in the context of identifying where the balance of convenience lies.”

He explained: “With parental support, the child indicated a desire to transition.

“In those circumstances, while it is not inconceivable that an accommodation satisfactory to all could have been reached, given goodwill and flexibility on all sides, it would seem at this stage, given the attitude taken by the appellant, that it is not possible to meet simultaneously the desires of the child and the parents, on the one hand, and the appellant’s concerns, on the other.

“If that is the choice – and I am afraid that, by reason of the appellant’s actions, it may well have in fact come to that – I would be of the view that the wishes of the child and parents must prevail.”

He went on to confirm that “in all circumstances, I would dismiss this appeal” and also added that he did not believe this case to be one about “transgender rights”,

“I am of the view this case is not about what the appellant has chosen to describe as “transgenderism”, and I would prefer to express my views in terms of the fact that the case is not about transgender rights,” he said.

“I cannot but believe that the term, as used by the appellant, is a somewhat pejorative one, as is his use of the term transgender “ideology”.

“These are phrases I prefer to avoid; I do not believe they are phrases that in today’s Ireland would find favour with transgender individuals and I would wish to respect their preferences in that regard.”

Fellow Court of Appeal judges Justice Máire Whelan and Justice John Edwards were in full agreement with Mr Justice Birmingham’s judgement.