UK arrest warrant issued for far-right UCD Professor Dolores Cahill

Professor Cahill is known for spreading false information about Covid-19 and her association with the Irish Freedom Party

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of University College Dublin (UCD) Professor Dolores Cahill by Westminster Magistrates Court, and the Irish Daily Mail have reported.

The charges relate to Prof Cahill’s participation in the conspiracist “Resist and Act for Freedom” rally in Trafalgar Square, London on 19 September 2020. She is charged with participating in a gathering of more than 30 people in contravention of emergency regulations and participating in a gathering of more than six people.

The arrest warrant was issued last week after Prof Cahill’s “failure to answer bail”.

Cahill is a tenured professor at UCD’s school of medicine and holds a doctorate in immunology. She previously served as chair of the far-right Irish Freedom Party (IFP) and has become known for spreading false information relating to Covid-19 and vaccination.

Some of Professor Cahill’s untrue statements have included that children who wear face coverings will suffer from lower IQs, that asymptomatic cases “do not exist”, and the disease can be prevented by taking multivitamins. She has also said that “Covid terrorists need to be jailed” and that people who give vaccinations are guilty of “attempted murder”.

She has spoken at numerous conspiracist rallies in Ireland, including ones featuring the far-right movement Qanon and open calls for violence as a response to vaccination programmes. Cahill was also a speaker at an August 2020 outside Dublin’s Customs House at which balaclava-wearing attendees attacked counter-demonstrators with batons and planks of wood.

She has also spoken at events in Germany organised by Querdenken (“lateral thinking”) groups, which German extremist-monitoring outlet Belltower News has said are connected with far-right and neo-nazi networks in the country. She shares Querdenken publications on her social media and is in turn promoted by members of the groups.

Cahill’s continuing employment by UCD has caused significant controversy. Last year, 133 medical students sent a 15,000 word letter to UCD authorities detailing the false claims Cahill had been spreading. University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) called for a disciplinary investigation after she attended a rally in March.

Professor Cahill was removed from a lecturing role after said rally but remains employed by the university. It has attempted to distance itself from her views, saying they “do not reflect the position of the school, college, institute or university”, and citing academic freedom as their reason for her remaining on staff. It did, however, feature her as a speaker at its International Women’s Day 2020 event while she was serving as chair of the IFP, known for its anti-immigrant views and the public espousal of white nationalist “great replacement” conspiracy theories by its high-ranking members.

In a tweet made in response to the news of the arrest warrant, UCDSU said that the union “reiterates our position that Prof Cahill’s actions to date constitute gross misconduct”.

“She should be removed from her position. This has gone on for too long.”

Cahill served as chair of the IFP until being asked to step down, also after the March rally, reportedly because her conspiracist public statements “[drew] the credibility of the party into disrepute”. Despite this, the party regularly shares false information relating to Covid-19 on official party media channels.

Professor Cahill ran as an independent candidate in the Dublin Bay South by-election in July, and had a confrontation with Gardaí outside the count centre after refusing to don a mask.

Though the UK formally left the European Arrest Warrant system at the end of 2020, the post-Brexit trade deal between the European Union (EU) and Britain contains very similar extradition proceedings, allowing for extradition from Ireland to the UK.

Last month, the Irish Supreme Court asked the Court of Justice of the EU to clarify these rules.

This article was updated at 4:10pm on August 18 to add a comment from UCDSU.

A previous version of this article included comments from a Telegram channel identifying itself as Prof Cahill. Trinity News has been unable to confirm the veracity of this account, and the statements have thus been removed. Trinity News apologises for the oversight.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.