Pro-life society refused recognition at University of Limerick

‘Unprecedented’ vote scuppers funding

In an “unprecedented” development a proposed pro-life society for students at the University of Limerick (UL) has been blocked by a vote against approving its establishment.

The UL Life Society, which has operated on campus since March 2013, though not as a funded and recognised society by the university’s Council of Clubs and Societies, submitted an application for ‘trial status’ in February. However, in a first for the council, a vote was held following protests by some council members against the pro-life group, resulting in a 22-21 vote against funding the new body.

It is further evidence of a hardening of attitudes against university groups with pro-life or traditional views. Recently, there were protests against a pro-chastity group operating in NUI Maynooth.

According to a source at the university who spoke with The Irish Catholic this week, “the UL Life Society had met all criteria set for its full recognition as a society, and this normally is all that is required to get status. The vote was an unprecedented move.”

Though it has organised a number of events at UL since its establishment, including guest speakers, the UL Life Society has found itself the subject of direct protests against its activities in recent months. An information day, which saw the group operating a stand in the university’s canteen, was ended early when some students allegedly harassed a girl at the table and threatened canteen management with a boycott unless the stand was withdrawn.

Management then asked the group to leave the canteen which they did.

Manuel Kuhs, chair of the UL Life Society, told this newspaper that a similar arrangement last year had passed off without any trouble.

On the status of the society, Kuhs confirmed that the pro-life group is now set to issue a formal complaint to the head of the club’s council regarding its treatment.

“The council is considering if and when we can appeal,” Kuhs said, “and has indicated that we might have to wait two semesters for that decision. We can’t wait that long.”