The time is “ripe” for the Irish far right. That’s according to University College Cork (UCC) lecturer Dr. Natasha Dromey. She was speaking at a conference on the topic of right-wing extremism in Ireland. Dromey argued that there’s a belief that Ireland is “immune” to the emergence of a far-right party. But she cited the increase in hate crimes in recent years alongside a rise in intolerance to demonstrate otherwise.
She told those in attendance that:
We are ripe for a group to emerge if they are able to sell their narrative in the right way.
The lecturer also went on to say that hatred is now being normalised. What was once “the underbelly of society” is now being utilised by politicians. She insisted that this is a “scary tipping point”. And what’s more, incidents of far-right terrorism in Ireland are not something beyond the realm of possibility.
Yet there are those who would insist that the far right is not an issue in Ireland. In fact, some choose to completely ignore it. Others actually hold far-right views and don’t consider themselves as supporters of a hateful ideology. They argue that all they’re supporting is “common sense”.
Then there are others who see the threat but don’t think it is a threat. Instead, figureheads of the far right are invited on to television and radio shows where they are given time to promote their views. There they go unchallenged and it’s argued that their views are just another part of the political spectrum that deserve to be debated.
But the fact is the far right is here. It’s active, it’s recruiting and its message is already having an effect on the political and social culture in Ireland. We have politicians using the talking points of the far right. With elections due within the next 12 months this is no error on their part. Every extra vote counts. And for them, the far right is just another demographic that can be appealed to by attacking everyone not sufficiently white.
Then we have incidents of hate crime that have taken place. Apart from hotels due to house asylum seekers suffering arson attacks, we’ve had mosques broken into and vandalised, a Muslim girl attacked for simply being Muslim, and a noticeable increase in racism across Irish social media. And in the case of the latter, it is a force multiplier of hate. As the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter look on, their platforms are used to congratulate those who commit hate crimes, spread lies about asylum seekers, and used to encourage more of the same types of crimes that are becoming commonplace.
So the emergence of a far right in Ireland isn’t merely a threat then. It’s already here and actively engaged in trying to win the ideological war. And this is indeed a war to members of the far right. For them anyone who doesn’t toe the appropriate line is a threat that will be eliminated in due time.
With their increasingly fanatical rhetoric our own extremists could very well take things to a murderous conclusion. And when that happens many will be asking if we could have seen it coming. But others will be pointing to the fact that the signs were there for a long time. It’s just that nobody listened.
Featured image via Twitter – soundmigration