Teacher Enoch Burke said he had the support of some students, parents and staff at the school where he worked.
Mr Burke says his presence, outside the Wilson’s Hospital school building in County Westmeath, in defiance of a High Court injunction, is not as disruptive as the school has claimed.
The school said Mr Burke’s continued presence on the premises is a source of significant discomfort and concern to staff, students, parents and the school community at large, reports RTE.
But Mr Burke says some students displayed messages of support from classroom windows while he was out. He also claims that a student made muffins for him and that one of his parents described him as an inspiration and a hero.
The claims are made in an affidavit filed by Mr. Burke as part of the school’s proceeding against him.
He was released from prison just before Christmas and has continued to attend the school since it reopened in January, despite his subsequent dismissal and the imposition by the National Court of a fine of €700 a day for contempt. The total fine he now faces amounts to almost 26,000 euros.
In his response to the school, Burke says he has continued to “report for work” since he was released from prison in December 2022, reports RTE.
Judge Brian O’Moore requested sworn documents from the school and Mr. Burke as part of his review of Mr. Burke’s contempt for fines and court costs.
No new date has yet been set for that review, but the Court of Appeal is expected on Tuesday to rule on Mr Burke’s challenge to a series of High Court orders, including a no-school-violating injunction.
At the appeal hearing, the court warned him that it might not issue any decision had there been “egregious conduct” on his part and that whether or not there would be a decision on the merits of the case was “very much in Mr Burke’s hands”, reports RTE.
The proceedings between Mr. Burke and the school arose after a series of incidents resulting from a student’s request to be called by a new name and “they/them” pronouns and Mr. Burke’s objections to this, reports RTE.
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