Bishop Eamon Martin says he is ‘very saddened’ by Enoch Burke case

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin headed the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference this week, with discussions ranging from the Dublin riots to war in the Middle East and assisted suicide in Ireland.
Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin

The leader of the Catholic church in Ireland has said that he is “very saddened” by the Enoch Burke case.

Eamon Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh, said the saga represented a dilemma.

Burke, the sacked school teacher, remains in Mountjoy prison for his sustained defiance of court orders barring him from entering Wilson’s Hospital School, his former workplace in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath.

The former history and German teacher has been in jail for more than 200 days.

Enoch Burke outside Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath (PA)
Enoch Burke outside Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath PICTURE: PA

“I’m very saddened by that situation,” Bishop Martin told The Sunday Times.

“Clearly, what we are talking about here is this man’s very strong personal beliefs, but also a school has to deal with the management and with the disciplinary issues, and I wouldn’t want to get into that because I wouldn’t be very familiar with the ¬reasons why [this has happened] from all sides. Clearly this has been going through the law.”

The primate said he did not want to make any comment on the individual circumstances of Burke’s case, which he said were “complex legally and in all other ways”. However, he said the imprisonment gave cause for reflection.

Separately, Bishop Martin said he was wary of an “ideological approach” to the teaching of gender identity issues in schools.

“I’m aware from conversations with those involved in Catholic schools that issues to do with – gender identity, issues to do with sexual orientation, have already become quite common within our schools and are being dealt with very gently, and pastorally, and sensitively within the – pastoral programmes of those schools,” he said.