Rise of the far-right in Ireland 'a canary in the coal mine'

'Wherever these protests are the far-right is just behind or in front'
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.17 27 Jan 2023

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Rise of the far-right in Irela...

Rise of the far-right in Ireland 'a canary in the coal mine'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.17 27 Jan 2023

Share this article

The rise of far-right groups in Ireland should be seen as a 'canary in the coal mine'.

That is according to one Lunchtime Live listener, who said the housing and health crisis were around long before migrants arrived.

Diarmaid in Dublin said he believes far-right groups here are aligning themselves with others.


"The groups themselves, a lot of them are lining up with British far-right groups," he said.

"They also link with other so-called patriot groups that traditionally would have been very anti-Irish.

"I think that we need to see this rise like a canary in the coal mine."

'People being fooled'

Diarmaid said the migrants people are protesting about are now the 'backbone' of the health service.

"These things take a number of years to grow, and they're dangerous groups," he said.

"They're pretending to be there to help the working class, but they're not - they never did anything before for them.

"They're against ideas like social welfare or civil rights, so it's sad to see people being fooled by them.

"They're blaming migrants for the housing and health crisis, but these issues have been with us for years.

"It's the migrant workers working in the health service that are providing the backbone of it now".

'Sympahtietc to the protests'

Steph Hanlon is from the group Le Chéile, a cross-sectoral alliance working to challenge the far-right in Ireland.

She said this is a perfect storm for misinformation.

"There is a small but there is a very real far-right social movement that is far-right that has emerged in Ireland," she said.

"It's not necessarily equated with these protests, but wherever these protests are the far-right is just behind or in front.

"The protests aren't just made up of the consolidated far-right.

"It is important to recognise that there are ordinary people participating in the protests, and an even larger section of people in working-class communities who are sympathetic to the protests.

"The root issue here is that we are living through a period of crisis... crisis in housing, in healthcare, in the cost of living.

"With this crisis, fear and inequality provide fertile breading ground for misinformation".

'We welcome conversation'

Steph said the same people behind such groups were against recent social changes.

"A lot of the organisers behind the far-right protests - they're the well-known individual that we would have met during progressive social movements like marriage equality and repeal," she said.

"These are the people that were threatening and intimidating women and LGBTQ people."

Steph said Ireland needs to be careful in its next steps.

"When you're talking about views from everyone, we completely welcome dialogue," she said.

"We welcome conversation and people have very genuine grievances and very genuine concerns and anger.

"Ireland, historically, we're a country of outward migration - we're also a country that, in the last 10 years, we have achieved a lot of very progressive social change.

"What we see in the far-right it's very reactionary... but this is something that's happening across Europe, and I think that's why we need to be exceptionally careful.

"One of the big things is, as part of a democracy, we do need to look at exactly why this is happening.

"These problems... are a result of deliberate policy over many years.

"If you look at the height of social movements, people really felt like they had the power to come together, to campaign, and to change government policy.

"Whereas now, it is a lot easier to vent your anger and frustration at people, when you have certain people pointing the fingers and creating very, very convenient scapegoats," she added.

Main image: A crowd of people with an Irish Tricolour gathered outside the former ESB offices on East Wall Road in Dublin in November 2022. Picture by: Sam Boal /

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