Ammi and Simeon Burke complain to Garda ombudsman over treatment in court ejection

Brother and sister of teacher Enoch Burke both allege they were ‘treated like animals’

A brother and sister of teacher Enoch Burke have made complaints to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) over their treatment by gardaí at the Court of Appeal on March 7th.

The complaints have been submitted by Ammi Burke, a solicitor, and her brother Simeon, a law student.

Simeon Burke has been charged with a public order offence arising from events at the Court of Appeal when it delivered judgment on March 7th dismissing Enoch Burke’s appeal over injunctions restraining him attending at Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath.

The hearing of the legal dispute between the school and Enoch Burke, which centres on the initiation and conduct of a disciplinary process initiated by the school against Mr Burke last September, opens at the High Court on Tuesday.


The siblings, along with their brothers Enoch and Isaac and their parents Martina and Seán, were all removed from the Court of Appeal by gardaí after the three judges of the court left the bench, in the middle of delivery of their judgment, after some members of the family had interrupted the judgment.

In her complaint to GSOC against three gardaí arising from the incident, Ammi Burke said the judges had left the bench after she and several other members of her family “addressed the court”.

She said the judges did not direct that anyone be removed from the courtroom nor did they ask or order anyone to leave. She said no one had been found in contempt of court and the court was no longer in session.

She claims that, shortly afterwards, a “mob” of gardaí entered the courtroom. She alleges she was dragged from the courtroom by three or four gardaí who, she alleges, had no authority to do so.

She claims she was dragged out of the courtroom through the Four Courts complex, was pushed to the ground, her leg was injured and she was “in a state of shock”. The alleged assault was filmed as it happened and broadcast on RTÉ and online, she said in her complaint.

She also alleges her brother Simeon was dragged from the courtroom by gardaí, his clothing was torn, his glasses were taken from him, he was “treated like an animal” and was left injured, bleeding and in a state of shock.

Ms Burke said she is a solicitor and educator who is well respected in her local community and she claims her reputation is “severely damaged”. The gardaí had no warrant or authority for their alleged behaviour, she claims.

Her parents and sister Jemima had met with a Gda Sgt on March 10th last and reported the matter to him, she said. The complaint has not been followed up on, she alleges.

Simeon Burke made his complaint against seven gardaí. He alleges that a Garda shouted at his mother forcing him to stand between his mother and gardaí to protect her. He claims he was dragged out of the courtroom by gardaí and through the Four Courts complex without any warrant or authority.

He claims excessive force was used, that he was treated like an animal, his clothes were torn, his glasses were taken from him and he was left injured, bleeding and in shock. He also alleges he was forced into a Garda jeep and it was never explained to him at any point that he was being arrested or the reason for that.

Mr Burke also says he is a law-abiding person currently training to be a barrister. He says he did not use or engage in any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace. He alleges he was unlawfully arrested and incarcerated.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times