Thursday, December 28, 2023

Fine Gael TD describes Enoch Burke’s family as ‘lunatics’ after they berate fellow politician in shop

Enoch Burke's family confronted TD Alan Dillion in a supermarket on Christmas  eve |

Wexford TD Paul Kehoe has described two members of Enoch Burke’s family as “lunatics” after they confronted one of his Fine Gael colleagues in a crowded supermarket on Christmas Eve.

Enoch Burke’s mother Martina and brother Elijah confronted Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon in a crowded supermarket in Castlebar, blocking his path on several occasions before he was eventually forced to abandon his shopping plans and return to his car.

Burke remained in Mountjoy Prison for Christmas as a result of his repeated refusal to purge his contempt of court.

In the video posted on Enoch Burke social media accounts, Martina Burke and her other son Josiah can be seen surrounding Mr Dillon, telling him “You’re on a six-figure salary. You cannot run away from people.”

Mrs Burke continued: “My son is in prison because of (Judge) Máire Whelan, appointed to the Appeal Court.”

Mr Dillon continues to try and enter the supermarket. He can be heard saying: “Listen guys, it’s Christmas Eve.”

The Burkes reply: “Yes it is Christmas Eve and Enoch Burke is in prison”.

As Dillon abandons his plans and returns to the car, the family follow him and continue to make complaints about the judge.

"You’re a disgrace,” they said. “You’re on a salary of over €100,000. You have a duty to the people. Denying the people, denying us our constitutional rights.”

Mr Dillon eventually makes it to his car and drives away.

The video drew plenty of criticism for the Burke family, with many feeling that their actions were beyond the pale, particularly on Christmas Eve.

Chief among the critics was Wexford Fine Gael TD and former Minister Paul Kehoe.

Responding to the video on X, formerly known as Twitter, Deputy Kehoe expressed his views forcibly with one word, “lunatics”, and then "the Burke family are disgraceful and should just reflect on their actions. These people call themselves Christians. I question it.”

Former TD Noel Rock commented: “A Dad going to Tesco at Christmas time. Hounded and harassed. Dreadful. Who’d be in politics?”

Mr Kehoe replied with the comment: “Noel, these guys call themselves Christians. They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves and their actions.”

Not everyone agreed with the Wexford TD though. One tweeter replied: “They have a constitutional right to their beliefs, so why are they being made an exception of? Unfortunately, because they are alone in defence. The whole issue appears weak and the government is getting away with it.”

Annoyed by this, Deputy Kehoe asked: “So do they have the same constitutional right to verbally attack and almost assault a citizen in the way they verbally attacked Alan Dillon?”

The poster replied: “I like the way you use the word ‘almost’, meaning that they didn’t attack. They are smarter than that. If you and others are not happy about them, then do something about them. They have fundamental concerns and they want answers that nobody in power or government will answer.”

“Maybe you should put yourself in the position of the person being attacked,” Deputy Kehoe replied.

The Wexford TD has experienced his share of protests in the past. 

In 2019, while he was Minister for Defence, Kehoe his wife and his three young children were forced to evacuate their home in Enniscorthy after a group of protesters arrived outside. 

It was part of a campaign at the time which targeted the homes of various ministers such as Simon Harris, Richard Bruton and Eoghan Murphy.