Teacher Enoch Burke will remain in Mountjoy Prison after he again refused to stay away from Wilson Hospital School in Co-Westmeath, reports RTE.
Mr Burke told Judge Mark Sanfe at the High Court that he would not agree to comply with what the teacher described as an “unjust order” because it would require him to renounce his religious beliefs and “endorse transgenderism”.
The case came to court on Tuesday, when Mr Burke’s ongoing prison sentence for contempt was to be heard.
Judge Sanfe, who ordered Mr Burke to return to Mountjoy, said the court was not interested in any connection with the dispute between the parties.
He said the court had expressed nothing but contempt and that if Mr Burke was willing to promise not to attend school, it would ensure his release.
While hearing the case, the judge ordered police to remove Mr Burke’s family members from court for shouting, criticizing and obstructing the court, reports RTE.
During an at-times heated and tense exchange between the defendant, members of the Burke family and the court, the judge told the teachers that “you don’t get to ask the questions around here”, reports RTE.
In his brief statement to the court, Mr. Burke argued that he was imprisoned solely because of his religious beliefs and opposition to transgenderism and that Judge Owens’ ruling was invalid.
“This is what this case is all about,” he said adding that this is why he is “in a cell” in Mountjoy Prison, despite, he insisted, having “done nothing wrong”, reports RTE.
After refusing to clear his contempt, Judge Sanfe ruled that Burke would remain in prison until he was ready to clear his contempt.
The judge added that Mr Burke could appear in court at any time and commit to securing his release.
The case will be reconsidered by the court on December 12, the judge added.
Following his suspension in August 2022, Mr Burke was charged with truancy for failure to comply with a court order.
As a result, he spent several months in Mountjoy Prison, reports RTE.
He was discharged without contempt shortly before Christmas.
He returned to school after the holidays and the High Court fined Mr Burke €700 a day.
Mr Burke also filed an appeal against the three-member panel appointed to hear his appeal regarding his dismissal as a teacher.
Judgment is awaited in these separate proceedings against the panel, reports RTE.
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