“Feminism must be a broad church” says Mary Kenny, following University of Limerick cancellation

“Feminism must be a broad church” says Mary Kenny, following University of Limerick cancellation

Veteran women’s rights campaigner and journalist Mary Kenny has spoken to Gript about being stripped of her invitation as keynote speaker to appear at the University of Limerick’s International Women’s Day Conference which is to take place on the 8th of March.

The Week That Really Was 19 – The dangerous Mary Kenny


The co-founder of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement said that actions like those of the UL protesters were “closing down democracy” 

She says she has received a huge amount of support from “across the board” with many voices insisting that “we must have freedom of speech” and cannot allow people to be “cancelled, erased, and de-platformed like this”. 

Kenny said she was invited to deliver her presentation, which was to be entitled The Media and Feminism over six decades, by Dr. Marie Connelly who is the Director of Human Rights, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at the university. 

She says  she was pleased to have been offered the opportunity to speak at the event saying that the University of Limerick has a “growing reputation” and that her intention was to give a “rounded history of the narrative of the woman’s movement” and to emphasis the diversity of the feminist movement through its 200 year history. 

Speaking on the many different political and social ideologies of the women who had taken part in the evolution of the feminist movement  she  emphasised the role of American Christians who were also “anti-slave abolitionists” saying that “through the ages” women from “every part of the political spectrum” have contributed to the movement. 

She said that feminism as a movement should be a “broad church” which welcomes women regardless of certain socially conservative beliefs and shouldn’t exclude pro life feminists who she said were “not allowed to be affiliated to other feminist movements” adding that this “isn’t fair”. 

She said that a “new and sharp split” was arising within the feminist movement because of the emergence of transgender ideology.

Last Tuesday Kenny says she received a phone call from Dr. Marie Connelly who said she was “very sorry” but that she “had to disinvite” her “because she was receiving an absolute storm of protest” against Kenny being at the university and that she was being described as a “transphobe”. 

Kenny said that while Connelly “did sound upset” she insisted that Kenny would have to be stood down saying she didn’t want to “expose” Kenny to the ‘hostility that would come her way’ were her speech to go ahead. 

Kenny says she tried to assure Connolly that she was an “old bird” and didn’t mind “robust debate” but that she was told she ‘couldn’t handle this’ and that it was “too much”. 

“That was that, I was just stood down”, she said. 

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