At the time of writing, Enoch Burke, a young teacher at Westmeath’s Wilson’s Hospital School, remains incarcerated in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison, where many a good Irish man has been locked up before in days gone by.
Though Burke, being an evangelical Christian who taught at at Wilson’s Hospital School, founded in the heart of Ireland at the height of the Anglicans’ Penal Laws, might not have agreed with the politics or religion of most of those Felons of our Land, he would, have recognised them for what they fundamentally were, and for what their descendants were addressed as in the 1916 Proclamation: Irishmen and Irishwomen.
And that is the proximate heart of Burke’s problem. He believes that men are men and women are women and not goldfish or mermaids. And that is why he is being punished with imprisonment. Because some vulnerable teenage student has decreed that he is no longer a boy (or she is no longer a girl), Burke is being forced to play along with the fantasy or to languish, like Kevin Barry, in a dreary prison cell. Burke has chosen the latter and, in so far as he is following the example of the Invincibles, who stood up for their principles, we should salute him, just as we saluted them.
But that is not how Ireland now works. Enoch Burke and his family are being excoriated not only on social media but by our state funded television service as well, as he is a part of, what the overpaid bigots of Maynooth University have been overpaid to decree, is Ireland’s far right.
No, he is not. Burke and his family are, as they proclaim, Evangelical Christians, no more and no less than what they claim to be. And, as per Voltaire, they have a right to proclaim their beliefs. But there is the second problem of the Burkes. Fintan Warfield, Panti Bliss and Ireland’s other opinion formers do not believe his opinions should be heard as he is, according to the overpaid superannuated “leftists” of Maynooth Secular Seminary, a part of their imaginary far right.
And therein lies another Burkean problem. Whilst studying at NUIG, the Burke siblings were, by all accounts, excellent students and not only excellent debaters but far superior in that regard than their contemporaries. Although there are several videos of the Burkes at NUIG, this one is particularly apposite as it shows that all most NUIG could do is snigger incoherently about them; rhetorical wizards, their contemporaries were not and most likely are not.
Given those NUIG students cannot even coherently grunt their preferred pronouns whereas the Burkes were dab oratorical hands, one could profitably compare and contrast the quality of their homeschooling with the schooling their contemporaries received not only in Wilson’s School but in other establishments as well. Given how all the Burkes aced the Leaving Cert, it seems that their mother, who doubled as their teacher, had the right approach in teaching them the 3Rs, and the Bible, of course, rather than how to twerk at hurling matches, as is now increasingly the norm. A more solid foundation, one could argue, than allowing young Anglicans believe in life destroying fantasies in between rugby and hockey practice.
In that respect, one must think of the criminal activities of the now totally disgraced Tavistock Institute which castrated hundreds of young Irish boys and performed unspeakable operations on young Irish girls.
And, whilst thinking of those crimes against vulnerable children,.let’s cast our minds back to when Roderic O’Gorman became our Minister for Children, where he said his first and main priority was to ship more Irish children to the Tavistock Institute to face the chop.
Let’s also recall how the Traveller actor John Connors railed against O’Gorman outside Leinster House, declaring that the protection of young Irish children from O’Gorman and the Tavistock would be the hill he would die on.
And let’s, in conclusion, remember that Connors immediately buckled when O’Gorman’s supporters applied pressure and Burke did not and that therefore, no matter how they all may identify from one day to the next, that Enoch Burke is twice the man, indeed twice the human, that Connors, the clowns of Maynooth and the Board of Governors of Wilson’s School will ever be.