Enoch Burke formally dismissed by Wilson’s Hospital School

Move follows disciplinary hearing on Thursday which was disrupted by members of the Burke family

Teacher Enoch Burke was formally dismissed by Wilson’s Hospital School on Friday afternoon following a school disciplinary hearing this week.

Mr Burke, who attended the school on Friday, was informed in person at 3:30pm that he was being dismissed in the presence of chair of the board of management John Rogers and school principal Frank Milling.

It follows a disciplinary hearing which took place on Thursday at The Mullingar Park Hotel in Co Westmeath, which was disrupted by protests from the Burke family.

Under school disciplinary procedures, Mr Burke is entitled to appeal the outcome of the hearing within 10 working days.


Mr Burke’s family declined to comment on whether he planned to appeal, except to say that “solicitors unlawfully sought to conduct the purported disciplinary hearing” and that the chairperson was absent.

Mr Rogers is understood to have taken ill before the meeting on Thursday and was replaced by an acting chairperson.

Wilson’s Hospital School declined to comment on Friday evening.

Earlier this week, Mr Burke failed in his attempts to get a High Court injunction to prevent the hearing from taking place. He argued that the disciplinary process “has gone irredeemably wrong”.

Mr Burke has been suspended and was on paid administrative leave pending the process, initiated on foot of a report prepared last August by the then principal of the school, Niamh McShane.

It concerned Mr Burke’s emailed objection to a direction last May to teachers to address a transitioning student by their chosen name and using the pronouns “they/them” and his publicly voiced opposition to that direction at a school event last June. He alleges such a direction is a breach of his religious beliefs.

Mr Burke was jailed for contempt of court orders in early September because he continued to attend the school despite there being court orders restraining him from doing so. He was released on an open-ended basis on December 21st last, after 108 days, without having purged his contempt.

After he again attended the school on January 5th following the Christmas holidays, the school applied for orders imposing fines on Mr Burke or temporarily detaining his assets. That application, which Mr Burke strongly opposed, will be ruled on next week.

Members of the board left the hotel briefly on Thursday and, as they returned, were shouted at by the Burkes, who made numerous accusations against them and their legal representatives.

At Thursday’s school disciplinary hearing, the Burkes were seen to shout accusations at board members in the hotel lobby.

Gardaí were called to the hotel on two separate occasions on Thursday as a result of the protest by the Burkes.

Mr Burke claimed to the media that the entire process was a “sham” and that the disciplinary hearing should not have taken place, owing to the absence of the appointed chairman.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent