25th October 2022

The first of the Autumn programmes kicked off with Greg Hughes raising the debate of the case in the High Court midweek of Enoch Burke the secondary school teacher being jailed for contempt of court. Our contributor Seamus Gunn pointed out that the background to the case was not that of transgenderism but arose as a result of a teacher ignoring a decision by the Board of Management of his School to suspend him on pay pending a disciplinary process which he said had not yet concluded. He accepted that while the teacher had points to make in relation to his religious beliefs and the Constitutionality of them, that the forum to raise the issues was within the hearing of the disciplinary proceedings. He said there could also have been a challenge to the process by way of Judicial review, which did not take place nor was there any challenge to the High Court Proceedings. The point that the teacher could come back to Court at any time if he wished to purge his contempt was also highlighted. This did not occur and as he had persisted in attending the school and an empty classroom which was in defiance of the injunction, a sentence could be imposed, which if served and the behaviour repeated, could result in the matter being brought back to Court for a second or third time. He made the point that the child at the centre of the case had no hand, act, or part to play in it, that the individual was dealing with a very serious and sensitive issue, and they too had their Constitutional rights. He had some reservations about the matter being in the public domain at this time. He said that all persons were equal before the law and the Constitution is there to protect everyone and would continue to do so. 

As always, the full interview and the Q&A that followed touched on a number of topics and can be listened to below.