The University College Dublin Students Union (UCD SU) have called on the college to open an investigation on Professor Dolores Cahill for “deliberate disregard for health and safety precautions likely to endanger another person” Under statute 28 of The Universities Act 1997. This call comes as Cahill recently made headlines for speaking at an Anti-lockdown ‘gathering’
Students Union President Conor Anderson believes Cahill’s behavior “warrants investigation by the university.”
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.”
The SU president also stated that “Cahill is using her role in UCD to position herself as an expert voice to the anti-mask, anti-lockdown far right.” Anderson further stated that the university need to let the public know “that Prof. Cahill has no expertise in the area of public health or virology”.
Anderson further pointed towards the National Virus Reference Laboratory, based in UCD, and said to enquire with them for “accurate scientific information on viruses.”
2nd year medical student Andrew Meehan spoke of the dangers surrounding authority figures and spreading misinformation: “The spread of misinformation in today’s society is dangerous, and even more so when it comes from a perceived position of authority…It has become increasingly frightening and angering, but sadly no longer surprising, as Professor Cahill continues to spread misinformation and unfounded claims about the Covid-19 pandemic, the efficacy of vaccines, the need for lockdowns, and social distancing.”
Meehan also briefly touched on the potential reputational damage that UCD is suffering due to their association with Cahill: “As a student, it is frustrating to continuously see the name of our school associated with an individual who directly contradicts public health advice and spreads these lies. We are concerned that she is damaging the integrity of our school’s name and reputation, both within Ireland and abroad.”
Luke Murphy, Co-Editor