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Thursday 28 August 2014

Anti-bullying group in dispute with university over name

Niall O'Connor

Published 14/07/2014 | 02:30

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DCU president Brian MacCraith with former minister for Education Ruairi Quinn
DCU president Brian MacCraith with former minister for Education Ruairi Quinn

A prominent anti-bullying organisation, which is endorsed by Michael D Higgins, has become embroiled in a dispute with a Dublin university over the use of an abbreviation.

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The National Anti-Bullying Coalition (NACB) claims that Dublin City University (DCU) is "passing off" the abbreviation NABC as its own.

The confusion stems from the fact a new facility opened up on the grounds of the North Dublin campus has been called the anti-bullying centre. The centre was founded by Professor Mona O'Moore, who has worked in the area of bullying for 20 years.

But in subsequent media reports and university generated content, the centre is abbreviated as the NABC.

The advocacy group believes the university's actions are creating widespread confusion and may pose a risk to its future.

The dispute was brought to the attention of former Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and DCU president Brian MacCraith, the Irish Independent understands.

"This is quite shocking to us, particularly in light of the work that both of our organisations engage in," the NABC said.

In a subsequent letter, the group urged the university to engage in talks in a bid to resolve the dispute.

"We would like to talk to you, to engage in a meaningful way to address the lingering unease that this situation has caused for all of us," the letter states.

The NABC was established following a series of tragic and high profile deaths involving young-Irish teens and has a series of high-profile supporters. The organisation's patron is President Michael D Higgins and its ambassador is Jeremy Prince, whose daughter Phoebe took her own life in South Hadley Massach ussetts after being subject to a campaign of bullying at the hands of a number of her schoolmates.

Jonathan Pugsley, whose daughter Ciara (15) took her own life in 2012 after being cyber-bullied bullying on controversial website Ask.fm, has also done work with the NABC.

The organisation has now proposed that both parties enter resolution talks with an independent body.

The Irish Independent understands that DCU officials met to discuss the earlier this month but that there are no plans to change the name of the centre.

"This is an unfortunate situation and we certainly don't want to cause any issues for them (the NABC) or indeed our own supporters," said a university source.

A DCU spokesperson could not provide a comment when contacted by this newspaper.

Irish Independent

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