Transgender row teacher Enoch Burke had to be physically removed from the High Court by gardaí yesterday after he refused to leave a courtroom.
Mr Burke and his sister Ammi went to the Four Courts yesterday despite having already been told by email that a hearing of issues involving him had been deferred.
The date had previously been set for a review of the daily €700 fine he is paying for failing to abide by a court order to remain away from Wilson’s Hospital School in Co. Westmeath. That fine has now mounted to over €10,000 since it was imposed on January 27 by Judge Brian O’Moore.
Mr Burke used to teach German and history at the school, before being dismissed earlier this year at a disciplinary hearing which had its roots in his refusal to refer to a gender‑transitioning pupil by their newly chosen name and the pronoun ‘they’.
Yesterday’s scheduled hearing was also due to deal with the ongoing costs of legal proceedings taken by the school’s board of management against the teacher.
However, RTÉ reported that earlier this week that the judge emailed both parties to say these matters would not be heard yesterday due to pressure on the court’s lists. They were told they would be notified of a new date.
Mr Burke said he was concerned about the ‘delay’ in hearing that application and that he wanted to speak to the judge about it.
Judge O’Moore, who had around 50 cases on his list yesterday, said he would not hear Mr Burke in person. However, as Mr Burke continued to speak, the judge left the courtroom. Mr Burke, who was accompanied by his sister, remained.
A garda in court asked him to leave. Mr Burke replied that the judge had not asked him to leave. He told the garda that he did not interrupt the court and he did not intend to.
This led to a stand-off, while all other court business was adjourned, until Mr Burke and his sister were finally removed from the court by gardaí. Ammi Burke, who is a solicitor, protested that what was happening was ‘a disgrace’.
The Burkes left the Four Courts at about 2.15pm. Judge O’Moore had told those remaining that the court had been disturbed by two individuals who seemed to feel entitled to make ‘groundless complaints’ and ‘abusive comments’.