Anti-vaccine campaigner Dolores Cahill no longer listed on UCD staff directory

Academic has been prominent anti-lockdown activist during Covid-19 pandemic

Covid-19 sceptic and anti-vaccination campaigner Dolores Cahill is no longer listed on the online staff directory at University College Dublin (UCD), where she has worked as a professor in the university's school of medicine.

References to the controversial academic have been removed from UCD’s website and her details have been removed from the university’s online staff directory in the last 24 hours.

UCD had regularly been criticised for failing to take action against Ms Cahill over persistent false and misleading claims she made about Covid-19 over the course of the pandemic.

Speaking at an anti-lockdown rally in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day, Ms Cahill claimed that children who wore face masks would have a lower IQ as their brains were being “starved” of oxygen.

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She told the Herbert Park rally that “globalists” had pushed for mandatory mask wearing because “oxygen-deprived people are easy to manipulate”.

She had previously claimed politicians and the media were using the pandemic “as a fear-mongering propaganda tool to try and take away rights from people and to make them more sick and to force vaccinations on us”.

Ms Cahill had previously been a highly respected academic in the field of proteomics, which is the large-scale study of proteins. She returned to work in Ireland in 2003 after a period in the prestigious Max Planck Institute in Germany.

In recent years she had taught a UCD first-year medicine class, called Science, Medicine and Society. However, she was moved from her role as a lecturer in the last year.

In response to her commentary on Covid-19, more than 130 students, mostly from the UCD School of Medicine, signed a letter saying the failure of the university to disavow Cahill’s statements had acted “as a silent endorsement” of her views.

UCD president Prof Andrew Deeks, previously defended the university's actions in not censoring Ms Cahill, stating that the principle of academic freedom prevented the university from "treating academics less favourably because of their opinions".

Ms Cahill is facing charges in London related to an allegedly illegal rally held in Trafalgar Square last September. She is charged along with others of holding a gathering of more than 30 people in an outdoor public place during the pandemic. A bench warrant has been issued for her arrest after she failed to turn up to a number of hearings.

She was also a senior figure in the Irish Freedom Party, but resigned as chair of the party earlier this year, a number of days after her speech at the Herbert Park rally.

Ms Cahill stood as an Independent candidate in the Dublin Bay South byelection in July, polling 169 votes. On the day of the election count she was refused entry into the count centre as she refused to wear a face mask.

A UCD spokeswoman said the university would not be commenting on the matter.

Ms Cahill has been contacted for comment.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times