Mayo native, Enoch Burke yesterday failed in a bid to be set free from prison after a judge refused to grant him an injunction restraining his school from continuing his paid suspension from work.
According to toady's Irish Independent, the secondary school teacher was returned to Mountjoy Prison yesterday evening after orders he sought were refused by Ms Justice Eileen Roberts.
The judge said Mr Burke had failed to reach the necessary threshold of convincing her he had a strong chance of succeeding at a full hearing of the dispute between him and his employers, Wilson’s Hospital School in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath.
Mr Burke, an evangelical Christian, was suspended from work on August 24 but continued to show up each day at the Church of Ireland diocesan boarding school.
He claimed that due to his religious beliefs he could not comply with a request from the school’s principal that teachers address a transgender student by a new name and use the pronoun “they” instead of “he”.
Mr Burke was subsequently jailed for contempt of court on September 5 for breaching an injunction secured by the school’s board of management restraining him from attending, or attempting to teach pupils, at the school.
After making her rulingy esterday , the Judge Ms Justice Roberts gave Mr Burke a further opportunity to purge his contempt – which would involve undertaking to abide by the injunction restraining him from attending at work – to which he replied: “I cannot do that, judge.”
Mr Burke said: “I do think it a gross injustice that the plaintiff [Wilson’s Hospital] and the court is seeking to deny me my religious beliefs. I go back to jail as a law-abiding subject of the State but a subject of God first.”
Ms Justice Roberts responded that the teacher was not in jail because his religious freedoms had been violated but because he had breached court orders.