A teacher who objects to addressing a student with the pronoun "they" has breached the terms of an temporary injunction preventing him from attending or teaching at the secondary school where he is employed, the High Court has heard.
As a result of the alleged breach of the order granted earlier, Wilson's Hospital School has sought an order that could see Enoch Burke jailed for contempt of court unless he agrees to abide by the terms of the interim injunction.
Mr Burke was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary process taken by the Co Westmeath school, where he has been employed for several years.
That process began after Mr Burke, who does not agree with transgenderism, allegedly publicly voiced his opposition to a request by the school's principal to address a student, who wishes to transition, by a different name and by using the pronoun "they" rather than he or she.
On Tuesday, the school board of management secured a temporary, ex-parte, High Court order against Mr Burke preventing him from attending or teaching any classes at the school.
The order was obtained because the board claims that Mr Burke was not abiding by the terms of his suspension, which it is alleged he believes is unlawful, by attending at the school.
The court also heard that a substitute teacher has been hired to teach his classes while he remains suspended.
The temporary injunction is to remain in place until the matter returns before the High Court next week.
However, the board, represented by Rosemary Mallon Bl instructed by Ian O'Herlihy of Mason Hayes and Curran solicitors, returned to the court this morning and told Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan that Mr Burke has breached the terms of the injunction.
Counsel said that despite being served with, and being made aware of the making of interim injunction, Mr Burke attended at the school yesterday and today.
Counsel said it was very concerned about the defendant's refusal to abide by the injunction and the terms of his suspension, which may be disruptive to the school's students at the beginning of the new academic year.
As a result, counsel said that her client was now seeking a motion from the court, known as a motion for attachment and committal, directing that Mr Burke be brought before the court to answer the allegation that he is in breach of the order.
Counsel said that the school's sole objective from bringing the proceedings, which it had not done lightly, was to prevent any further disruption.
Ms Justice O'Regan allowed the board to serve short notice on Mr Burke of its application to bring a motion before the court seeking his attachment and committal to prison.
The judge made the motion returnable to tomorrow's vacation sitting of the High Court.
Should the motion be granted and if Mr Burke continues to act in breach of the order he could be jailed or "committed" to Mountjoy Prison for being in contempt of court.
The school in Multyfarnham, is the Church of Ireland's Diocesan School for Meath and Kildare.
Earlier this week, the court heard that while a disciplinary process is under way, Mr Burke, originally from Co Mayo, has not been sanctioned and no finding has been made against him by the school.
The school claims that despite its decision to suspend him, made at what counsel said was "a difficult meeting" he attended with his sister Ammi earlier this month, he has attended at the school's campus in recent days.
Mr Burke has described his suspension as being unreasonable, unjust and unlawful.
The disciplinary process arose after the teacher objected to a request by the school, based on a request from a student and their parents, earlier this year to address a student, who wishes to transition, by a different name and to use the pronoun 'they' going forward.
Mr Burke, it is claimed, objected to this, questioned the school's position, and has alleged that a belief system is being forced on students.
He also claims that the school's request amounts to a breach of constitutional rights, the High Court heard.
In correspondence to Mr Burke, the school denied that anyone is being "forced" to do anything.
The school said that it is focusing on the needs and welfare of its students and is affirming its policy in accordance with the 2000 Equal Status Act of not discriminating against any student.
It said it has acknowledged Mr Burke's religious beliefs, but expects him to communicate with the student in accordance with them and their parent's wishes.
The next stage of the disciplinary process is due to take place in mid-September.