Teacher Enoch Burke attended Wilson’s Hosptial School on Friday despite an order forbidding him from attending the premises.
Mr Burke has until 2pm today to purge his contempt of an order restraining his attendance at the Co Westmeath school pending a disciplinary process, Mr Justice Brian O’Moore ruled on Thursday. If he does not, a daily fine of €700 will come into effect. It will amount to just under €5,000 weekly, and “should persuade Mr Burke to end his utterly pointless attendance at a school which does not want him on its property”, the judge said.
If it does not have the desired effect “it can always be increased”, the judge added.
On his arrival at the school on Friday, Mr Burke made no response when asked if he would attend the High Court.
The disciplinary process in question is grounded on a report last August by the then school principal. It concerned Mr Burke’s opposition to her direction requesting teachers to address a transitioning pupil by their chosen name and using the pronoun “they”. It also details Mr Burke’s behaviour at a school event last June where he publicly raised issues with the principal about her direction.
Speaking on Thursday at the gates of the Co Westmeath School, Mr Burke strongly criticised the court’s ruling. He claimed the court’s decision to fine him over his continued breach of the court order equates to making him pay for his “religious beliefs”.
He said that he was a “young teacher” who had spent the last four years “scraping together” a deposit for a house.
He then quoted scripture to gathered reporters, and refused to answer further questions.
Mr Burke spent the entirety of Thursday outside a school building. He left with his father after speaking to reporters.
Mr Justice O’Moore listed the matter on February 10th to monitor Mr Burke’s compliance and to consider liability for the costs of the school’s application to fine Mr Burke or sequester (temporarily detain) his assets until he purges his contempt.