Enoch Burke and his sister Ammi Burke were removed from a Dublin court by gardaí after refusing a judge's request to leave today, Friday, February 10.
Burke, who was dismissed from his post at Wilson's Hospital School in Co Westmeath following a lengthy and highly publicized dispute, arrived at the Four Courts in Dublin with his sister Ammi Burke, a solicitor, on Friday despite the fact that the hearing of his case had been deferred.
Siblings Enoch and Ammi Burke were this afternoon physically removed from a courtroom by members of An Garda Siochana for interrupting proceedings before a High Court judge.https://t.co/rjtgBa7NR1 pic.twitter.com/JoU3AiYkag— Courts News Ireland (@courtsnewsIRL) February 10, 2023
According to the Irish Independent, a review about the daily €700 fines imposed on Burke last month for his continued defiance of court orders restraining him from attending Wilson’s Hospital School was due to take place on Friday, but parties had been informed earlier in the week that the matter was being deferred.
Justice Brian O'Moore additionally deferred a mention hearing in relation to an application from the school’s board of management to amend an affidavit sworn by its chairman John Rogers.
New dates for both of the deferred matters have yet to be set.
Despite the deferrals, Enoch Burke and Ammi Burke attended court on Friday morning, with Enoch asking Justice O'Moore, who had nearly 50 cases on his list for Friday, if he could be heard on the affidavit issue.
"I am not going to deal with the matter in the absence of the school,” Justice O’Moore replied, and told the Burkes that they would be emailed later in the day.
The Burke siblings were reportedly not pleased with the response and refused to leave the courtroom even after Justice O'Moore retired to his chamber.
A garda in court then asked Enoch Burke to leave the court, while a court usher informed him that the judge had ordered gardaí to ask the Burkes to leave the court.
Burke responded by saying that the judge had not asked him to leave.
Burke again attempted to interrupt court proceedings an hour later and was escorted out of the courtroom by two gardaí, according to RTÉ News. Burke said his removal was a "disgrace."
Ammi Burke refused to leave the court and at one point asked Justice O'Moore "What are you hiding?” She was eventually escorted from court when a female member of An Garda Síochána arrived.
After the Burke siblings were gone, Justice O'Moore said: "Today, the operation of this list was disturbed by two individuals who appear to feel entitled to turn up unannounced with no notice to the other side and, in truth, not for the purpose of making any application to the court at all."
He added: "They [the Burke siblings] seem to feel entitled to make groundless complaints and deliver themselves of abusive comments.”
Friday's court kerfuffle comes after Enoch Burke was dismissed from his teaching post at Wilson's Hospital School in January following a bitter dispute that began when former school principal Niamh McShane asked all staff to call a transgender student by the appropriate name and pronouns.
Burke, an Evangelical Christian who does not believe in transgenderism, confronted McShane over the request at a school function last June. Other people attending the function had to prevent Burke from continuing to confront the principal.
Burke was suspended last August as a result of the incident but continued to attend the school, which prompted the school's board of management to seek a temporary court order for him to stay away.
The court order was granted, though it did not stop Burke and he continued to attend the school, resulting in his imprisonment for more than three months.
Burke was released ahead of Christmas on the condition that he would not attend the school, which he immediately defied following the school's winter break at the beginning of January.
He was dismissed from his post later in January, yet has continued to attend the school.
Justice O'Moore imposed a fine of €700 that will apply every day until Enoch Burke gives an undertaking that he will obey the court's injunction and not attend Wilson's Hospital School.
Burke currently owes €10,500 in fines.