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Teacher jailed following refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns, refuses to comply with court order in Ireland

An Irish teacher, Enoch Burke who was jailed after he refused to use a transgender student’s gender-neutral pronoun and ignored his teaching suspension has again refused to comply with a court order banning him from his school.

Enoch Burke, an evangelical Christian, told Ireland’s High Court that abiding by the injunction that forbade him to teach at his school after he refused to address a transitioning student as ‘they’ would ‘violate my religious beliefs and deny my God’.

Mr Burke, who has spent two nights in a Dublin jail for contempt of court, told the judge today: ‘I can be a Christian in Mountjoy Prison or I can be a pagan acceptor of transgenderism outside it.’

The teacher will now remain in Mountjoy Prison for at least another week after he refused to comply with the court order.

Mr Burke, who teaches History and German, was suspended from his Westmeath school for refusing to address the transitioning student as ‘they’ rather than ‘he’, as requested by the pupil and their parents in May, and agreed to by the Church of Ireland school.

The teacher was later arrested on Monday morning and jailed for breaching a temporary court order not to teach at Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath, or be physically present there.

Mr Burke had refused to stay away from school on paid leave, the court heard and would sit in an empty classroom, declaring that he was there to work.

Mr Burke returned to court and the school’s board of management secured the renewal of an interlocutory injunction that banned the teacher from teaching at the school.

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