launches inquiry into Opus Dei claims by students
Times, April 3, 2004
is conducting an inquiry into claims that a college lecturer told
students they had to attend an Opus Dei event in order to pass their
exams. The lecturer, Ms Geraldine O'Connor, has voluntarily agreed
to stop teaching while the inquiry is under way.
report on the matter is expected to be given to the UCD president,
Dr Hugh Brady, within weeks.
Paul Dillon, president of UCD Students' Union, said yesterday his
office had received a number of complaints from students at the
college's School of Diagnostic Imaging about pressure to attend
an Opus Dei event.
took place last January in Dublin and was called "The Richness
of the Human Person", according to Mr Dillon.
far as we're concerned, attendance at the meeting was compulsory,"
he said. "The lecturer noted the names of all those who didn't
attend the meeting last January . . . students felt intimidated
O'Connor, who could not be reached for comment last night, is understood
to be in her 60s. She is believed to have worked in UCD for more
than 20 years.
said it was also investigating complaints that Opus Dei material
was distributed to students.
are taking the complaint very seriously," a spokesman said.
"A basic principle of UCD's charter is that it is non-denominational.
it came to the attention of the president, he took immediate action
and initiated an investigation. The individual in question voluntarily
agreed to cease direct interaction with students pending the outcome
of this investigation."
to the UCD student newspaper, the University Observer, Ms O'Connor
has also suggested that students should have strong religious convictions
in order to succeed academically.
UCD spokesman said the college was keeping an open mind on the allegations.
But he said the "full rigour of disciplinary procedures"
would be brought to bear on any individual found to have contravened
conservative Catholic organisation Opus Dei was founded in Spain
in 1928 and has been in Ireland since 1947. It currently has approximately
800 members in Ireland, the majority of whom are lay. But the organisation
has been criticised for its obsessive secrecy and its "sect-like"
Posted April 15, 2004