UCD professor Dolores Cahill resigns as chair of Irish Freedom Party

ireland
Ucd Professor Dolores Cahill Resigns As Chair Of Irish Freedom Party Ucd Professor Dolores Cahill Resigns As Chair Of Irish Freedom Party
28/11/2020 Dolores Cahill Chair of the Irish Freedom Party with supporters at a Protest against Lockdown restrictions surrounding Covid-19 at the Custom House Quay Dublin. Pic Conor O Mearain/ Collins Photos
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James Cox

UCD Professor Dolores Cahill has resigned as chair of the Irish Freedom Party.

The Ard Chomhairle of the party met on Sunday morning to consider her position and said it had agreed to accept her resignation.

She will be replaced by Clare architect Michael Leahy.

The move comes four days after she spoke at an anti-lockdown event at Herbert Park in Dublin.

Prof Cahill was one of the organisers of the St Patrick's Day gathering.

Speaking in front of a crowd, she claimed that wearing masks would mean children would “never reach their IQ and job potential because their brains are starved of oxygen”.

She said that “globalists” pushed for mandatory mask wearing because “oxygen-deprived people are easy to manipulate”.

In a statement posted on its website, the far-right party described Prof Cahill as an “exceptionally talented person” and a “fearless advocate of freedom at a time of great upheaval in Ireland and around the world.

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“She publicly defended our natural freedoms to travel, work, worship and meet our families in a time of lockdown.”

Prof Cahill was unavailable for comment on Monday evening.

UCD has distanced itself from the views of Prof Cahill.

A spokesperson for the college said: "UCD continues to fully support the public health position taken by the Irish Government concerning Covid-19. This includes vaccination rollout, treatment for Covid-19 patients and societal restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

“The views expressed by Dolores Cahill are her own. They do not reflect the position of the university. Dolores Cahill is not scheduled to teach or coordinate modules this trimester.

“The university does not discuss individual staff members.”

Following the Herbert Park event, UCD Students' Union called for an investigation into Prof Cahill's anti-mask comments.

UCD Students' Union president Conor Anderson said: “Dolores Cahill has been propagating medically-inaccurate conspiracy theories in service of a far-right political agenda throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, her words are far-reaching. Professor Cahill has amassed a huge following and exerts considerable influence over the general public who do not realise she is not an expert in virology, epidemiology, or public health.

“As President of UCD Students’ Union, and in light of Cahill’s continued escalation of rhetoric that endangers public health, I have written to the head of the UCD School of Medicine and the head of UCD Human Resources to request that Prof. Cahill be investigated under Statute 28 of the Universities Act 1997. This statute defines gross misconduct, in part, as 'deliberate disregard for health and safety precautions likely to endanger another person.' Given Cahill’s disregard for public health advice and her continued rhetoric that is putting the lives of ordinary people in danger, all while using her role in UCD, I believe this warrants investigation by the University.”

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