Dismissed teacher stands outside school for a second day

An Irish teacher who was dismissed amid a row over transgender pronouns returned to his former place of work on Wednesday, a day after being arrested for trespassing at the school.

Enoch Burke, who was previously jailed after failing to observe a court injunction banning him from attending Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath while he was suspended from work, was informed last Friday of his dismissal from his position as teacher.

Despite his dismissal, he turned up to the school for two successive days, and staff at the school have refused him entry on both days.

On Tuesday, Gardai arrested Mr Burke at the school and drove him to a Garda station. After he was released, he was seen returning to the school’s grounds before leaving in the afternoon.

On Wednesday morning, Mr Burke’s father dropped him off at the school. He then approached the door of the school and was prevented from entering the building.

Enoch Burke dismissed from job
Enoch Burke arrives at Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Burke was seen standing in the rain on school grounds and writing in a notebook intermittently while standing outside the building.

He was then driven away from the school grounds by his father just after 1pm.

The evangelical Christian was suspended from work on full pay last year pending the outcome of a disciplinary process, after a number of incidents stemming from a request from the secondary school’s principal.

Mr Burke voiced on several occasions his opposition to the principal’s request to address a transgender child by their name and refer to them by the pronoun, “they”.

Subsequent events led to his suspension from his job at Wilson’s Hospital School.

A formal disciplinary hearing was held last week; a family member of Mr Burke issued a statement on his behalf on Friday, saying he had been dismissed.

Mr Burke has rejected his dismissal, asserting that he has a right to work and that he had been “wrongfully” arrested for trespass on Tuesday.