Anti-Islamisation group Pegida to launch an Irish branch in Dublin

The group has been criticised for being highly conservative on immigration

Pegida, Ireland, Anti-Islamic group, GPO, ENAR Ireland, refugees, migrants, Peter O'Loughlin, Identity Ireland, Dr Ali Selim

In this file photo, protestors hold a banner reading "Without violence and united against religious wars on German soil - PEGIDA" during a demonstration in Dresden, Germany | Image: Jens Meyer / AP/Press Association Images

An Anti-Islamisation group is to launch its Irish branch Saturday outside the GPO in Dublin.

Counter-rallies have been organised in response by anti-racism groups.

The Pegida group - 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West' - has been criticised in Europe for being highly conservative on immigration.

A number of groups here say they oppose the organisation, calling them "a dangerous and reactionary movement in Ireland".

Originally established in Germany, Pegida soon developed into a network.

ENAR Ireland say: "This far-right anti-Islam group is part of a broader European campaign of hatred against migrants and ethnic and religious minorities".

"In response, a European Day of Action has been called, consisting of a range of counter-demonstrations taking place across Europe against these racists and fascists".

Mariya Ivancheva, a researcher at UCD and member of Attac Ireland, commented: "Until recently, Ireland was one of the only countries in the continent where right-extreme organising and anti-migrant sentiments could not find fertile ground".

"This was no surprise, given the history of colonialism and forced migration which has made Irish people victims of exploitation and racism".

"As a migrant who has received great welcome, I am appalled to see the rise of the xenophobic, racist, anti-migrant network of Pegida here".

"I am alerted that its violent language is now trying to find currency not only among Irish white supremacists and far-right sympathisers, but also among working people affected by the crisis. I hope the Irish have learned from history and will not allow this to happen", she added.

Peter O'Loughlin of Identity Ireland, who support Pegida, says they have over 400 members.

He told Newstalk Breakfast we must understand the difference between refugees and economic migrants.

While author and senior staff of the Islamic Cultural Centre, Dr Ali Selim, said he is surprised this group is launching in Ireland.