NUIG criticised for Legion of Mary ban

Irish university accused of heavy-handed censorship

One of the country’s largest universities has been accused of heavy-handed censorship after it suspended a Catholic society from its campus for distributing alleged homophobic material.

The National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) suspended the Legion of Mary as a college society last week after the distribution of posters with the headline, “I’m a child of God. Don’t call me gay.”

In a statement, the university said it would not condone the production and dissemination of any material by students that discriminated against other students. However, one of the main organisations opposing censorship around the world criticised the university’s decision to suspend the Catholic lay group’s presence on the campus.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic this week, Index on Censorship’s spokesman and senior writer, Padraig Reidy, said: “While the view expressed in the flyer may seem out of place on a modern Irish university campus, it doesn’t constitute intimidation or threats.

“I don’t think NUI Galway have given any serious thought to the religious liberty or free speech of the Legion of Mary students. Universities are meant to be places where people learn to argue and find their way as adults.

“The issue at stake here is that they have peacefully put forward their views, without threat or abuse, and have still been punished, with even evidence of the Legion’s student society status removed from NUI Galway’s website. How this can happen when students are ‘protected’ from even the slightest controversy, I really don’t know,” he said.

The suspension came after complaints were made against the Courage Community, a Legion of Mary linked group responsible for the posters pasted up on university billboards around the campus.

The A4-sized posters offered those of “same sex attractions” to “develop an interior life of chastity… to move beyond the confines of the homosexual label to a more complete identity in Christ”.