Christian students reveal details of persecution at Irish university

Several Christian students who were prohibited from joining student organizations at a university in Ireland have recently spoken out about the details of the "persecution" they experienced for their Christian orthodoxy.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Theorydave)Block E (Old Civil Engineering Building), NUI Galway. 9 September 2014.

National University of Ireland Galway students Ammi Burke, Enoch Burke, Isaac Burke and Kezia Burke were banned for life from joining student organizations in November 2014 after administrators said the four had mishandled university funds. The four siblings had supposedly misused 325 euros in club funding for the printing of pamphlets, The Church Militant detailed.

A number of Equality Tribunal hearings were then held starting October 2016, but the Workplace Relations Commission still has not given the Burkes any feedback on the results. The siblings have already submitted an appeal to the Circuit Court, thinking there was a bias on their case.

For the Burkes, the ban imposed on them was a form of retaliation for the legal action they filed against NUI Galway. They also attributed the action to their history of expressing their Christian beliefs in school, which reportedly included putting up pro-life posters around campus when the university held an abortion referendum in 2013.

"Unlike in the USA, in Ireland there is no 'right' vs 'left' dichotomy in the news media and practically all outlets are unfavorable towards Christian belief," Isaac Burke told The Church Militant via email on Jan. 13. "Freedom of expression and religious liberty would be rarely discussed. Therefore, our full story has not (yet) been picked up by mainstream media in Ireland."

In September 2017, NUI Galway made headlines after a mature arts student complained about the university's decision to convert disabled toilets to transgender facilities. Emer Coyne, a registered disabled student after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, described the move as "deeply offensive," The Irish Times reported.

NUI Galway, on the other hand, issued a statement defending the conversion of the disabled toilets to gender-neutral ones. The university said they want to implement a practical way of addressing the needs of all their students and staff.