Former UCD professor, Dolores Cahill, has been issued a £2,500 fine by Westminster Magistrates’ Court despite not attending the scheduled court date regarding a “flagrant breach” of Covid restrictions.
Originally reported by The Irish Times, Cahill’s fine was issued for organising an anti-lockdown demonstration in Trafalgar Square on September 19th 2020. At the time, coronavirus regulations restricted participating in or organising a gathering of more than six people in any place during the emergency period in England.
The ‘Resist and Act for Freedom’ rally led to the arrests of 32 people according to the London Metropolitan Police. Cahill was accused of having been involved in the organisation of the protest and spoke at the event about the efficacy of vaccines while two police officers were injured in the clearing of the gathering.
Cahill was found guilty of holding a gathering of more than 30 people outdoors and ordered she pay a fine of £2,500 along with a further £815 in related charges by the presiding judge Michael Oliver who said: “This was a flagrant breach of the regulations that were put in place to ensure public safety at the time of a national emergency — a pandemic. […] The measures were plainly for a good reason — to protect people.”
“There were plainly far more people than 30 present at this protest and the evidence suggests about 1,000 people. Plainly there was risk of harm to people attending and to others at the risk of transmission of Covid.”
Cahill did not attend the trial or enter a plea in response to the trial. A warrant for the arrest of Cahill was previously issued due to ‘failure to answer bail’ in relation to the same charge.
Hugh Dooley – News Editor