DCU suspends account over ‘offensive’ email in response to death of Katherine Zappone's wife

Dublin City University has suspended the email account of a retired staff member who sent an ‘offensive’ message in response to the death of Ann Louise Gilligan, wife of Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone.

Minister Katherine Zappone, right, with her wife, Ann Louise Gilligan, who died after a short illness. Picture: Justin Farrelly

Dr Gilligan had taught at St Patrick’s College Drumcondra and DCU, and both institutions were merged last year.

This week DCU emailed staff to inform them of Dr Gilligan’s death.

However, on Thursday a reply to the email, which expressed the author’s critical views on homosexuality, marriage equality, and abortion, was sent to all staff who received the original missive.

“The death of a relative or close friend is often a time to assess one’s life’s achevements [sic], beliefs and practices,” the email read.

“It is my prayer that Katherine will use this time of sadness to reassess her espousal of a number of causes which besmirch a record of solicitude for others and particularly the poor,” it concluded.

DCU issued a statement after screenshots of the email were widely shared on social media: “The views expressed in this email are offensive,” it said.

“They were made in a personal capacity by an individual who is not a member of DCU staff. The individual retired from St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra a number of years ago,” DCU said.

“The university has suspended the email account of this individual. While Dublin City University supports the concept that universities are fora where views from many different perspectives can be shared and debated respectfully, we do not condone communications that run counter to our policies and ethos of respect and dignity for all,” the statement concluded.

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