Secondary school teacher Enoch Burke will remain in Mountjoy Prison for at least another week, after refusing to give an undertaking that he would obey a High Court order.
The temporary injunction preventing him from attending or attempting to teach at the school where he works, Wilson's Hospital in Co Westmeath, was granted by the court last week and was in effect until today.
The court had been told that Mr Burke attended the school for his timetabled hours, despite being suspended with pay pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.
Mr Burke continued to attend the school after the injunction was granted and earlier this week he was brought before the court and jailed.
The court granted a further injunction to the school after being told by Mr Burke that he could not obey the court's order. Costs of the legal proceedings were awarded against him.
We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
The disciplinary process began after Mr Burke confronted his then principal in public at a school event in June about his opposition to addressing a transitioning student with a new name and using the "they" pronoun.
The High Court granted a further injunction to the school this afternoon, preventing Mr Burke from attending or attempting to teach pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.
Lawyers for the school said Mr Burke was attempting to say the case was about his refusal to call a boy a girl. But barrister Rosemary Mallon said the case was not about transgenderism, it was about a teacher ignoring a lawful decision by his school's board of management to suspend him on pay pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.
Ms Mallon said the principal's report to the board had concluded that she had serious concerns about how Mr Burke may act in the school in circumstances where he had stated his personal views on transgenderism in public.
The principal had concerns for the student involved and the entire student body. She said the case was not about his beliefs but about his alleged conduct.
Ms Mallon said Mr Burke was asking the court to interfere with the school's disciplinary process, something the courts should be slow to do.
Mr Burke told the court he had spent the last two nights in Mountjoy Prison which was a new experience for him. He said he had had much time to consider his actions and behaviour leading him to that place.
And he said, far from finding any instances of misconduct or gross misconduct, he had found only actions "worthy of commendation".
He said he should be commended for having the courage to tell the principal that transgenderism was the abuse of children and a breach of the school's constitutional rights to the free profession and practice of religious beliefs.
Mr Burke quoted from the bible a number of times and from Robert Frost’s poem 'The Road not Taken'.
He said what the principal had asked him to do was contrary to the word of God. And he considered it commendable that he had the integrity to obey God rather than man.
He said were that choice put to him every hour of every day for the next 100 years, he would see himself answering the question no differently.
Mr Burke asked where the constitutional guarantee to freedom of religion was in the courtroom and said in this matter the conduct of the court was "mean, contemptible and base".
Mr Burke said the court could deprive him of his liberty and his dignity but could not deprive him of his integrity and faith in God. He said he would never leave Mountjoy Prison if in doing so, he must violate his well-informed conscience and his religious beliefs and deny his God.
He said the court had presented to him that he could be a Christian in Mountjoy or a Pagan respecter of transgenderism outside it, and in that case he knew where he belonged.
Mr Burke continued that the manifest issue was his public non-acceptance of transgenderism. And he said what the school and court had done was a clear and unlawful attempt to persecute him publicly for that.
Mr Burke said he would absolutely have refused to comply with the principal’s demand to address the student in question by a new name and with the "they" pronouns. But he said that situation had not yet arisen. He had simply stated his intention not to comply.
Ms Mallon said it was quite clear Mr Burke had no intention of complying with the order and much of what he said were more appropriate issues to be dealt with at his disciplinary meeting or a full trial of the case.
She said he had not legally challenged the suspension or the court orders despite having had the opportunity to do so.
Mr Justice Max Barratt said he accepted the case was not about the issue of transgenderism and was simply an application for a further injunction which he granted.
The case will come back before the court in a week's time, although Mr Burke was told he could come back to court at any time if he wishes to purge his contempt.
The costs of the legal proceedings were awarded against him.