UCDSU calls for investigation into Professor Dolores Cahill

Image Credit: Dominic Daly

UCDSU has called for Professor Dolores Cahill of the UCD School of Medicine to be investigated under Statute 28 of the Universities Act, 1997.

In a press statement sent on Friday 19th March, UCDSU President Conor Anderson stated: “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.  

“Cahill is using her role in UCD to position herself as an expert voice to the anti-mask, anti-lockdown far right. Many people have justifiably been duped into believing that Cahill is an expert in the field due to her links to the UCD School of Medicine and they therefore believe her position warrants listening to. It is of the utmost importance that we as a University explain to the public that Prof. Cahill has no expertise in the area of public health or virology, and we do have qualified experts in this area in UCD. If you require accurate scientific information on viruses, please listen to Professors in the National Virus Reference Laboratory or the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases. Dolores Cahill does not have the expertise to inform you on Covid-19 and is merely telling you her political ideas and none of it is based on scientific research by the UCD School of Medicine.   

“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".

Anderson first stated that he was working with UCD medicine students on the issue of Dolores Cahill and misinformation during the Union Council of the 15th of February. His report presented to Council that night stated that he had “held a town hall between myself, student reps from the school of medicine, SU executive officers, and academics to discuss the issue of Covid-19 misinformation and how to address that issue through student action, specifically as it pertains to Prof. Dolores Cahill”.

It is understood that the escalation to a public calling for an investigation is a result of Professor Cahill’s involvement in the organising of an anti-lockdown event in Herbert park on St. Patrick’s day. During her address to the crowd, Cahill made numerous false claims regarding Covid-19 restrictions and public health guidelines. She stated children wearing masks would “never reach their IQ and job potential because their brains are starved of oxygen”, and claimed that “the reason that globalists are putting down the masks is that oxygen-deprived people are easier to manipulate”.

It was revealed later that Friday that An Gardaí Síochána were carrying out an investigation following an alleged party in breach of lockdown rules in an Athy Castle owned by Professor Cahill. While the Gardaí do not comment on private addresses, a spokesperson from the Garda Press Office said in a statement; “An Garda Síochána is carrying out enquiries into an alleged breach of Public Health Regulations at a property in Athy [on] Wednesday 17 March 2021”. 

“The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No.10) Regulations 2020, as amended, are currently in force.

“Where Gardaí identify potential breaches of the public health regulations a file is prepared for the DPP in each case or a Fixed Payment Notice is issued where appropriate.

“Regulation 8, places restriction on persons organising events. This is a penal regulation.

“Gardaí in Kildare did stop a number of motorists [on Wednesday] evening who were making non-essential journeys. A number of FPNs will be issued as a result. A breach of public health regulations for travel without a ‘reasonable excuse’ can be enforced by a €100 Fixed Payment Notice.”

In a rare response to a press query, Professor Cahill told The Journal that her response was “No comment”.