By Cate McCurry, PA
UCD professor and anti-lockdown campaigner Dolores Cahill was prevented from entering an election count centre in Dublin after she refused to wear a face mask.
Ms Cahill, who ran as an independent candidate in the Dublin Bay South byelection, attempted to push through a number of gardai and security officers to gain access to the count centre at the RDS in south of the city.
The outspoken critic of Covid-19 restrictions was joined by a few supporters, who also refused to wear a mask as required under health regulations.
She was blocked from accessing the centre as gardaí repeatedly asked her to put on a mask before going inside.
The academic, who is no longer lecturing at UCD, demanded the identity of the garda who repeatedly told her his name and the station he is associated with.
The garda told Ms Cahill that the returning officer of the count would allow her inside the hall once she wore a mask.
The independent candidate claimed the staff were breaking the law, stating she has “inalienable rights” under the Constitution as she tried to force her way past gardaí.
She told her three supporters: “I want to see my votes being counted.
“I have inalienable rights as a natural person to bodily integrity and we need to uphold democracy.
“Why are people here not identifying themselves.
“Please let me in.”
She told the garda that there was “no requirement” to wear a face mask into the centre and wrongly claimed that the presiding officer has “no authority” to stop her from overseeing votes being counted.
She also told gardaí that she would make a citizen’s arrest as she was not allowed to enter the count centre.
“What are you afraid of?
“Are you afraid I might get elected,” she added.
A number of her colleagues spoke out against her on Twitter, with one UCD professor describing her behaviour as “thuggish and ignorant”.