Two members of the Seanad have spoken out against the rise of the far right and anti-mask activists in Ireland. Speaking in the Seanad yesterday, Senator Paul Gavan warned that people must “all unite” to combat the far right. Gavan highlighted the role of the Irish Yellow Vests, describing them as “anti-immigrant and dangerous”.
He was joined in his condemnation of the far right by Senator Eugene Murphy. He told the chamber that the far right are abusing the Irish flag, saying they are “doing everything to destroy all that it stands for”.
Last month Senator Eileen Flynn also spoke about the far right in the Seanad. She said that she “fears for the future if we don’t all stand together against hate and division”.
A danger to democracy
Gavan was speaking about the rise of anti-mask protestors in Ireland when he also discussed the rise of the far right. He pointed out the “horrendous personal abuse” a colleague of his received from anti-mask activists when recently leaving the Dáil.
Senator Gavan argued that “There is a pattern to what is happening”. He also stated that there is “a tendency among all of us to ignore these people”. But this, he believes, is not the correct approach.
Pointing to the Irish Yellow Vests he said:
The yellow vest [sic] movement, in particular, is far right, anti-mask, anti-science, anti-vaccination, anti-immigrant and dangerous.
What’s more, Gavan maintained “that these people are a danger to democratic politics in this country”. Going on, he insisted that:
The one lesson from history that we should all recognise is that one does not ignore fascists; one confronts them. We need to take these people on and make a stand for democratic politics.
And he called on everyone to “unite against these bigots”.
Destroying the Tricolour
Senator Eugene Murphy echoed the comments made by Gavan. He described the protestors at the Dáil as behaving in “an appalling way”. Noting their use of the Irish flag, he said:
It drives me mad when I see the Tricolour being flown by people who are doing everything to destroy all that it stands for.
Although he admitted he is unsure how the problem needs to be tackled, Murphy contended that “we must be outspoken against them”. He branded their actions “shocking and outrageous” and insisted that the far right is “confronted” and “must be stopped”.
And he called on members of the Dáil and Seanad to “speak out against what these people are doing”.
Not the first warning
This is not the first time that the issue has been raised by a serving member of the Seanad. Last month Senator Eileen Flynn, who is a member of the Traveller community, said she is “afraid of the rise of the far right in Ireland”. And that she also “fears for the future” as a result.
She went on to tell the Seanad that if people don’t “stand for unity and solidarity” then “we will live to regret it”.
Featured image via Oireachtas TV – Screenshot