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Freedom Party chair Dolores Cahill asked to resign after controversial Covid claims


Professor Dolores Cahill

Professor Dolores Cahill

Professor Dolores Cahill

UCD Professor Dolores Cahill was asked to resign as chairperson of the Irish Freedom Party rather than willingly quit the role, according to a document obtained by the Sunday Independent. 

It emerged in March that Prof Cahill’s resignation was accepted by the Ard Chomhairle of Irish Freedom Party, with the organisation saying she had stepped down as she was busy with other groups and “didn’t have sufficient time for party duty”.

Her resignation followed a number of unsubstantiated public claims she made about Covid-19, including that children who wore face masks were being “starved” of oxygen and would have lower IQ.

“Wake up parents. Oxygen is required for your brain to function and I am saying to the children and teenagers of the world, to their parents and teachers, the individual ministers and prime ministers across the world have failed you,” she told an anti-lockdown rally in Dublin’s Herbert Park.

 In a letter to Prof Cahill, Irish Freedom Party founder Hermann Kelly told the UCD academic: “I am writing to you as a member of the Ard Chomhlaire with my concerns and in light of which I would ask you to consider your position and duties within the Irish Freedom Party… Some comments you have made over the last few months have caused great unease with members of the party.

 “You stated: ‘There will be a dark winter and if I was you I would stock up on food because the plan is to have a bomb in Rotterdam which will cut the food supply. Their plan is to cut the internet, the electricity and ATM machines and to put in martial law to make it [so] you cannot leave your house… In the PCR tests they have found fragments of Ebola.’ Such unsubstantiated statements draw the credibility of the party into disrepute and are unacceptable.”

Mr Kelly outlined other incorrect claims the UCD academic had discussed in public.

“At the Herbert Park event, which you organised with other people, tellingly not with the approval of the Irish Freedom Party Ard Chomhlaire, you are seen on video and quoted in the media as giving your opinion regarding children wearing masks. You told the crowd making children wear face masks would deprive them of oxygen and reduce their IQ. If children are required to wear masks, they ‘will never reach their IQ potential, because their brains are starved of oxygen’… In my opinion it was very unwise and, at best, a distraction from the strong anti-lockdown arguments the party has been making in the last 11 months.”

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Prof Cahill’s resignation was announced two days after she received this correspondence, following a hearing of the party’s Ard Chomhlaire. The letter to Prof Cahill, which also accuses her of “neglect of duty” and “unsubstantiated claims”, has since been shared outside of the Irish Freedom Party.

In a statement posted on its website in the aftermath of her resignation, the party described Prof Cahill as an “exceptionally talented person” and a “fearless advocate of freedom at a time of great upheaval in Ireland and around the world. She publicly defended our natural freedoms to travel, work, worship and meet our families in a time of lockdown”.

Attempts were made to contact Prof Cahill for comment.

Prof Cahill is Professor of Translational Science at the UCD School of Medicine.

She has been one of the leading advocates against lockdown and mask-wearing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

UCD has stated that the views expressed by Prof Cahill are her own.

“They do not reflect the position of the university,” the university said in a statement in March, which also pointed out that she is not teaching in UCD this year.

UCD maintains that academic freedom allows staff members to take controversial views outside the university.

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