Former UCD professor Dolores Cahill was one of a number of conspiracy theorists who met a senior Conservative MP in London recently, it has emerged.
Ms Cahill, along with eight other anti-vaccination campaigners, met MP for Altrincham and Sale West Graham Brady at an undisclosed location near Westminster in the UK capital on September 21st. Ms Cahill is facing charges in a London court for breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
According to one of the group, the purpose of the meeting was to present “evidence” to Mr Brady and call for an immediate cessation of the UK’s vaccination programme “as a matter of urgency”.
Mr Brady is chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee which represents Tory backbenchers and frequently steers government policy. He has served as shadow minister for Europe on four occasions and was briefly considered as a potential candidate for Conservative Party leader in 2019.
He has been a strong critic of lockdowns as a means to tackling the pandemic.
The meeting, which lasted about two hours, comprised 16 people, including six who dialled in by video call. Ms Cahill, who has been one of the main purveyors of anti-vaccination misinformation in Ireland during the pandemic, was one of those in the room with Mr Brady.
Other well-known anti-vaccination campaigners and conspiracy theorists present included lawyer Anna de Buisseret who has called vaccines a "bioweapon" and Michael Yeadon, who previously worked for Pfizer and claims vaccines are part of a "mass depopulation" programme.
Also present was John O’Looney, a funeral director who has claimed thousands of elderly people have been secretly euthanised during the pandemic.
Ms Cahill herself has a history of making outlandish claims relating to the pandemic which are not supported by evidence, including that face masks lower the IQ of children.
She ceased her employment as a professor with UCD at the start of this academic year amid increasing controversy about her public remarks on Covid-19 and vaccinations. She had applied for retirement some months previously.
Ms Cahill is facing charges in Westminster Magistrates Court for her involvement in an anti-lockdown rally in Trafalgar Square a year ago. She was one of the speakers at the rally which saw clashes with police and the arrest of 32 people.
A warrant for Ms Cahill’s arrest was issued by the court two months ago after she allegedly failed to answer a summons. However, this warrant had been withdrawn by the time of her meeting with Mr Brady. The case is due to proceed on November 1st.
In Ireland, gardaí are investigating what role, if any, Ms Cahill played in encouraging a severely ill Covid patient to leave a Co Donegal hospital last month.
Ms Cahill was not present when anti-vaccination activists entered the hospital and encouraged Dungloe resident Joe McCarron to leave. However, she was thanked repeatedly by one of those present for providing assistance over the phone. Mr McCarron died several days later after being readmitted to hospital in a serious condition.
Ms Cahill served as chairwoman of the Irish Freedom Party before being asked to resign in March over her public statements.*
Neither she nor Mr Brady responded to requests for comment on Monday. Speaking to the Times of London, Mr Brady did not confirm his attendance at the event and said meeting someone “does not amount to an endorsement of their views”.
*This article was amended on October 6th, 2021 to clarify when Ms Cahill resigned from her role in the Irish Freedom Party