UCD 'bombarded' with complaints about Dolores Cahill's employment 

UCD 'bombarded' with complaints about Dolores Cahill's employment 

Former UCD professor Dolores Cahill.

University College Dublin (UCD) was bombarded with complaints and correspondence from students, graduates, staff members, and other medical practitioners about the continued employment of Dolores Cahill at the university.

The college was told it was putting its reputation at risk, that public pronouncements on the Covid-19 pandemic were a “stain” on the university, and that it was at risk of losing research funding.

Emails received by the college detail how repeated calls were made for the university to act on the spread of misinformation by a member of staff.

In one email, Professor William Gallagher — the former director of UCD’s Conway Institute — wrote of his concerns about damage to the university, referring specifically to some of Ms Cahill’s activities including the setting up of her ‘Freedom Airway’.

He wrote: “In addition to clear adverse impacts on public health, [these] actions are leading to significant negative effects also on UCD's reputation both nationally and internationally.

“Indeed, feedback has been relayed to me from a major funder of research that inaction on behalf of UCD on this issue could lead to severe impacts on downstream funding, due to associated reputational damage.” 

One GP — a former student of UCD — wrote about how some of his patients were repeating misinformation that had been spread by Ms Cahill and others.

They said: “Every week, I have a patient asking me about these rumours that they have heard about the vaccines. Some are my [redacted], others are younger.

“Although they are entitled to have had at least one vaccine [dose] so far, they have not taken up the offer due to the flood of misinformation. This is mostly on social media.” 

A lecturer at another third-level institution also wrote to say that Ms Cahill planned to organise anti-lockdown rallies around the country.

He wrote: “There is no way [she] can do this in present circumstances without breaching the regulations that are in place in this country. [It] is a disgrace to UCD.” 

Another person wrote to ask how the university could continue to ask for “donations for teaching and research” while employing a person who minimised Covid-19 and its risk.

Their email said: “I ask that you treat this matter with the seriousness and urgency it requires.”

Another email said it was “embarrassing” that the university had a “Trumpesque, anti-vaccine, anti-mask, anti-lockdown lecturer” on their payroll.

Students from the university’s school of medicine registered their concern including a lengthy point-by-point rebuttal of many public comments made in specific interviews by Ms Cahill.

Another student wrote to say the college had only ever “deflected” when it came to criticism on the matter.

“You cannot continue to employ a scientist, who does not believe a science,” they said.

Several emails of support were also received, several of which appeared to be a cut and paste of the same material.

They all began with the sentence: “I strongly object to what appears to be a witch hunt … by persons associated with UCD.” 

Internal UCD emails detailed suspicions that it was part of an organised campaign: “No doubt there will be more as it appears that these individuals are acting as some kind of co-ordinated lobby group, given the opening line in most of the emails is identical.” 

Another wrote to ask why the university were not supporting their staff against a “corrupt media” and “the corruption of the medical world”.

Internal emails also detail how the university planned to respond to ongoing queries about the continued employment of a person who campaigned against public health measures at UCD.

A meeting of their human resources, legal department, and staff from the School of Medicine took place at which it was decided the college could not comment on the “staff matters” involved.

However, the university’s communications team were told they could say the views did not represent the position of UCD and that the staff member was not scheduled to teach or coordinate any modules that term.

Although Ms Cahill’s name has been redacted from the records, many of them make direct reference to public comments she made and activities she was involved in.

These included a notorious incident where she was refused access to a count centre after refusing to wear a mask.

In September, it was reported that she had left her job at the university just months after applying for retirement from her position.

UCD did not respond to a request for comment on the records that they released.

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