This is Part One of Hate Online, a series examining the online presence of the far right in Ireland
An Irish website appears to be a talking shop for members of the far right in Ireland. The website, Politicalirish.com, hosts a forum in which hundreds of users discuss the “Replacement” of the Irish people by migrants. They also regularly post about the threat Islam poses to Ireland and support the targeting of journalists such as Owen Jones.
Downplaying and justifying Islamophobia
Islam and Muslims come in for particular attention on the forum. In the aftermath of an attack on a mosque in Galway, users were quick to post their thoughts on the incident. Many of the comments either downplayed the attack or asserted it was in some way a false flag.
to distract from the huge importation of Africans and Muslims to rural Irish towns villages.
One poster attacked minister for justice Charlie Flanagan for saying he was “greatly disturbed” by the incident. They went on to proclaim that other Irish people are more disturbed by the way the government has “continued fly in thousands of muslims [sic]” to Ireland in spite of the 2004 citizenship referendum. And another user put forward the idea that the attack was “an inside job”. They came to this conclusion based on the fact that the CCTV footage was destroyed by the attackers.
When a Muslim girl was recently attacked by a group of teenagers in Dublin and had her hijab forcibly removed, the same pattern emerged. Some engaged in downplaying the attack. A forum user stated that the girl should show a “willingness to assimilate” to Irish culture. Therefore,
Why don’t they take it [their hijabs] off?.
Another wrote that attacks “against people in normal clothing” happen every day and don’t get reported on in the media. And besides they wondered “if the girl even wants to wear” her hijab as “pressure from the family is the main reason why they do”. A poster going by the name of Rommel said the attack was nothing more than “teenagers acting the muppet”.
According to one commenter so-called “shitlibs” will use the attack to justify introducing hate speech laws. As a result, they believe that the laws will be the end of “our ability ability to discuss changes in our country”, such as the “islamisation [sic] of Ireland”. In a subsequent post the same forum user went on the declare the attack was a “false flag”.
The user bells of shandon insisted that the attack is being used by the Irish government to “distract us”. And what it wants to distract us from is its
wish to re-inforce [sic] the Mass Immigration Policy
And they contended that the attack will be used to ensure that:
No criticism of the religion of Peace [sic] as they flood Ireland with more illegal migrants to continue their Population Replacement Policy.
But what is likely to draw the attention of the authorities is the discussion of a military coup. Although it is posed as a “thought experiment” the author of a post asks what would happen
if a group of young patriotic officers, who had not been corrupted and castrated by the system, decided to use their military training to launch a coup to save Ireland from the horror we are now suffering — and the slow extermination that inevitably must conclude with the total destruction of the Irish race and our replacement with cheap migrant labour.
They go on to ask if people would support the coup if, for example, the mutineers arrested “traitors”. And would they support the coup if the soldiers
suppressed the anti-Irish traitor media and arrested offending journalists and media owners?
Responding to the initial question, a forum user feared that in the aftermath of a coup “the JEWS [sic]”, might regain control. Nonetheless, they would support the coup “to see the Libtards [sic] suffer harsh revenge”. And another stated that:
As long as all socialist, communists, abortionists and cultural marxists were corralled I would be happy.
Journalists are also targeted by members of the forum. When British journalist Owen Jones was attacked while leaving a pub, posters on the forum were quick to justify it. Jones himself has said it was a “politically motived premeditated attack”.
What goes round comes around.
User Irish Warrior congratulated those who attacked Jones, writing “Well done”. They went on to opin that the attack was “well deserved”. In a separate post the same user tried to justify the attack by insisting that “The left are the original thugs” given the history of the USSR. Whatever link Jones has to the USSR is not mentioned.
And another user was disappointed that Jones was not killed in the attack. They wrote:
It would have been nice to be reading his obituary. Oh well one can dream…
Part of a wider pattern
None of this should be surprising given the far right’s exploitation of the internet in recent years. From YouTube to 8Chan, the internet allows previously isolated members of the far right to coalesce, plan, and map out their tactics, and agree on aims and targets.
Shane O’Curry of ENAR Ireland, which is national network of anti-racism groups, told The Beacon that it is
aware of who the key characters are on the far right. We see what kind of tropes and language are used and what the strategies are.
In spite of this, he believes not enough is being done to monitor Irish far right groups online. This includes their websites, Facebook pages and groups. He argued that the department of justice and gardaí are stuck in an “institutional arrangement” which sees the main threat to the state as coming solely from Irish republicanism. O’Curry said the department of justice in particular:
doesn’t see the far right as posing an existential threat to the state.
He believes what partly explains the apparent lack of concern amongst the gardaí is that there is a “racist culture” within the organisation. He pointed out that:
our research shows that they’re not geared to dealing with hate crime at all. They don’t respond to ethnic minorities appropriately with regard to racist, homophobic, or any other kind of attack. They don’t respond appropriately to minorities. They’re not geared towards reaching out to minorities or to understanding why some groups are more marginalised or more susceptible to being attacked than others. And they have no understanding of why a racialised or homophobic version of an assault is more serious and has deeper impact.
The Beacon contacted the gardaí’s Cyber Crime Unit and posed a number of questions to them regarding the Irish far right. A spokesperson replied:
An Garda Síochána is not in a position to comment on operational matters.
Nonetheless, it was reported by the Irish Times in March that the unit is monitoring the online activity of the far right across various websites.
A Garda told the paper that:
We know for a fact it’s the same people behind them. The servers are in the US.
As The Beacon discovered, the servers for PoliticalIrish.com appear to be based in Miami, Florida.
Going forward though, it seems that the far right have nothing to fear. Their websites remain in place as their Facebook pages and groups also continue to flourish.
Unless something is done, the hatred they promote will continue to fester until it erupts in outright physical violence here. And as is often the case, it is the most vulnerable in society who will be targeted.
Featured image via Pixabay – tookapic