In primary school, we were always taught that standing by and watching a child get bullied was almost as bad as the bullying itself. You may not be the one throwing insults, but you’re facilitating it. You’re allowing it to happen. That is the position that University College Dublin are in, regarding the on- going circus surrounding Dolores Cahill.
The outrage surrounding Professor Dolores Cahill’s unfounded views first came to light in June 2020, when it was reported that Cahill was asked to resign from the EU Scientific Committee. Students soon penned a 15,000-word letter to the School of Medicine, asking why UCD did not condemn Cahill’s ill-informed comments, and to consider how their silence acts as an endorsement.
The University, The School of Medicine, and President Andrew Deeks have remained silent on the issue ever since. While UCD has continually, and rightly, adhered to government guidelines, The Cahill problem remains the elephant in the room.
First year students who endured what was arguably the toughest Leaving Cert year to date and achieved a place in one of Ireland’s finest third level institutions, would be welcomed into a college that is facilitating a professor who rejects the idea that COVID-19 exists. Some of those students have now chosen to sit a module named ‘Science, Medicine & Society’ which Cahill coordinates.
The module descriptor includes a paragraph stating: “The subjects chosen for study are representative of those which impinge on our daily lives and about which a student aspiring to be a practicing physician or an honours graduate in Biomedical; Health and Life Sciences might be expected to have an informed view.”
Questions must be asked to the School of Medicine as to how students should be expected to have an informed view, when the module coordinator holds views that are ill-informed and ultimately incorrect. Medicine and science are not based in argument, or reason, they are based in truth.
There are students, and parents, who have worked hard to ensure their child is able to attend Medicine School in UCD. They have to pay thousands of euro a year. Only to see a woman who actively lies to the public, who ignores the most basic of guidelines, and who has pulled stunts such as partnering with anti-COVID-19 airlines, running first-year modules.
UCD will have much to answer for, as to why they never condemned a lying professor, and why they allowed such a professor to coordinate first year modules. The reputation of UCD’s Medicine School is falling every day that Cahill remains there.
Luke Murphy, Co-Editor