Third level institutions in Ireland are becoming increasing intolerant of those who “dissent from the prevailing liberal orthodoxy”, a former chaplain of University College Cork has warned.
According to The Irish Catholic, Fr David Barrins expressed particular concerns about UCC, saying that “there is a growing intolerance in the Students Union and the student body to student views that are pro-life or Catholic.”
UCC “does not wish to have a plurality of opinions properly represented on campus” he said. “If you dissent from the prevailing liberal orthodoxy, then there is no place for you to be represented on campus. Indeed you are met with derision and intolerance.”
Fr Barrins’ comments come after it was revealed that ‘Love Life’, a student-led pro-life organisation, has been repeatedly denied recognition by the UCC Societies Guild as an official college society.
UCC’s former pro-life society, ‘Students for Life’, was disbanded after an internal takeover from pro-choice students. The college doesn’t have a pro-choice society, but the Students’ Union campaigns for abortion on demand.
“It seems the authorities are very happy with this situation” Fr Barrins said. “Indeed, this is a growing and alarming trend on most campuses across the country.”
Earlier this year, a chastity groups at NUI Maynooth faced protests for handing out leaflet. The University of Limerick’s Council of Clubs and Societies also denied recognition to a pro-life society, despite it meeting all the criteria required for approval.
Fr Barrins said that the attitude amounted to “If you are pro-life or Catholic, keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself. I believe the time has come for this attitude to be firmly challenged and opposed before more students’ rights are seriously infringed.”
UCC told The Irish Catholic that the issue was a matter for “student governance.”
In a statement to the paper, the university said “(‘Love Life’) were unsuccessful in their application and subsequent appeal. They are able to reapply should they wish and UCC Societies Guild officers are available to meet them.”