A now renowned and reviled name amongst UCD students and beyond, Professor Dolores Cahill of the UCD School of Medicine landed herself in further controversy this St Patrick’s Day, leading an anti-lockdown rally in Herbert Park and addressing a crowd of disgruntled lockdown opposing protestors.
Amongst her claims were that children were being “starved” of oxygen since the introduction of face masks during the summer of 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID19; in order to lower their IQs as they are then “easier to control”.
More worrying was her frequent use of various dog-whistler's. Terms such as “globalists” were frequently used by Cahill at the protest. Sound bites like the ones used by Cahill sound appealing, and often attract support. However, as this article with further explore, there is little to no substance to these points. Rather, dog-whistling is used as a means to rally support for a cause - in this case opposing public health measures.
Cahill is no stranger to alt-right causes.
Obtaining a BA in Molecular Genetics from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD in Immunology from DCU; Professor Cahill focused her academic career on proteomics technology and their biomedical applications with notable success. She served for 15 years as a Seconded National and EU expert to the European Commission and as Vice-Chair of the European Union Innovative Medicines Initiative Scientific Committee from 2018-2021.
Her sudden dismissal from the latter committee followed her falsified claims surrounding COVID-19 and mask wearing. Cahill propelled conspiracies including that COVID was no more dangerous than the common flu and that it is transmissible through masks, innitially through the means of a now deleted interview with the Alt-Right Irish Youtuber Dave Cullen. His Youtube channel has since been removed from the platform.
Before lecturing, Professor Cahill held a position as Group Leader of the Protein Technology Group at the prestigious Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Genetics in Berlin.
She is a co-founder and leading shareholder of “Protagen – Protein Services”, a business offering analytical services in protein science. Until recently, she lectured the module “Science Medicine and Society” in UCD, where it is reported by students that the Professor would indulge in tangential discussions on politics and governance.
With nearly 6000 citations and dozens of books and peer reviewed publications, there is no denying of Professor Cahill’s expertise in the areas of molecular biology. However, it is evident that Cahill's expertise is vasty different from epidemiology and respiratory diseases.
Despite this, it is difficult to fathom how such a respected academic expert in her field could become so dangerously and obviously wrong on a variety of other scientific issues. Questions after hearing her claims and activities begin to show their answers when delving into her politics, connections, and ideology.
Dolores Cahill was an unsuccessful independent candidate for the European Elections in the Ireland-South constituency. Academics dabbling in politics is nothing new. What sets Ms Cahill apart, in Ireland at least, is her extremist, alt right, and frankly dangerous opinions.
Ms Cahill was up until recently the chairperson of the hard Eurosceptic and anti-immigration group, the Irish Freedom Party (IFP). The party advocate for independance from the EU or an “IREXIT” akin to the UK Independence Party's (UKIP) call for "BREXIT". However, their recent activity and connections place them further to the right than UKIP under Nigel Farage, and allign more to the party under Gerard Batten, sitting comfortably on the extreme right of the political compass. Such activites of the Irish Freeom Party include protests outside of Direct Provision Centres, misinformation campaigns on “Gript Media” and the promotion of conspiracy theories on subjects like “The New World Order”, the “Great Reset”, and “Cultural Marxists”, all of which involve a seedy underworld of sinister beings plotting the destruction of society through the control of nation governments.
Whilst Chairperson, Dolores Cahill was enjoyed considerable influence and exercised great control over the party’s activities. Second (or perhaps equal) only to founder and President Hermann Kelly. It begs the endorsement and support of the man’s past and politics, which include a book-long refutation of the story of Kathy O’Byrne, one of countless victims of Catholic Church's abuse in the Magdalene Laundries. Hailing from Derry, his political career was spent as Press Officer for Nigel Farage in the EU and as Director of Communications for the Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group (EEFD), of which Mr Farage is a co-founder. The launch of the IFP was headed by Nigel Farage.
Painting themselves (and Ms Cahill herself) as true “patriots” of Ireland, it does prompt questions into its motivations and legitimacy given their work and funding. Both Kelly and Cahill have frequently worked with Rowan Croft, also known as the Grand Torino; a prominent figure in Ireland’s online Alt-Right. Croft also documented his work with Jim Dowson (founding member of“Britain First”) where Croft, Dawson, Kelly and Cahill opined on the changing “identity” of Ireland.
Cahill has become known for fear mongering, and spreading flasehoods, undermining publichealth advice. Cahill has legitimatised the fear of a confused population on a changing Ireland; pointing fingers at unkown entities that merely act as soundbites to her followers. The legitimate anger and pain derived from recent economic uncertainty and the continuous Coronavirus lockdowns, further pushes individuals to believe alt right rhetoric, like that encouraged by Cahill.
The politics of fear and othering is not dissimilar to the historically documented events in 1930's Europe. It may not be long before this rhetoric of a vacuous enemy materialises into real victims.
Dolores Cahill has now resigned from her position as chairwoman of the Irish Freedom Party. It is unclear whether the decision was induced or voluntary given recent events and circumstances, although the Irish Freedom Party itself cite the professor no longer being able to devote enough of her time to politics.
Dolores Cahill remains a Tenured Professor at the UCD School of Medicine.