A new national organisation has been launched to tackle the rise of the far right in Ireland. Le Chéile, which counts dozens of organisations and public figures amongst its members, held its official launch today in Dublin. In a press release to mark the launch, the group said it’s in the process of “building a national alliance” across Ireland to “counter” the far right.
A “progressive alliance”
Speaking ahead of the launch, member Rohana Perera highlighted that Le Chéile “is truly reflective” of Ireland. He expressed his delight at the support for the campaign from various groups. All of them, he stated, “expressed a need for a progressive, inclusive anti-fascist alliance” to tackle those who want to “spread division” in Ireland.
Another member of Le Chéile also spoke of the need for the campaign. Ailbhe Smyth pointed out that women, minorities, and people of colour “are among the primary targets of the far right”. Given this, Smyth argued,
we cannot and must not stand idly by as individual lives, communities and rights are threatened, assaulted, abused and trampled on.
Members opposing hate
The group said reason for its founding is “to campaign and work together to counter the rise of fascism and far-right politics in Ireland”. What’s more, Le Chéile said it is committed to “opposition to all forms of discrimination, marginalisation, racism, bigotry and hate”.
Amongst its members are the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), and the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).
The group also counts a number of well-known public figures as its members. Included in the list are veteran journalist Vincent Browne, Senator Eileen Flynn — the first member of the Traveller community to be appointed or elected to the Oireachtas — composer and activist Raymond Deane, LGBTQI+ activist Izzy Kamikaze, and Dr. Panti Bliss.
An increasing presence
The group launches as far-right rallies have been held across Ireland in recent months. Last week a rally at the Custom House in Dublin which was organised by the Irish Freedom Party attracted hundreds of people. The party’s leadership attacked the idea of hate crimes and talked of various conspiracy theories related to COVID-19.
In September activist Izzy Kamikaze was struck over the head by a member of the National Party during a far-right rally. The long-time LGBTQI+ campaigner was there with a small group of activists to observe the rally. But a crowd quickly surrounded them. And National Party member Michael Quinn allegedly struck Kamikaze over the head with a piece of wood draped in the Tricolour.
Quinn was arrested in October in relation to the incident. He is currently out on bail pending a hearing on 4 December.
Featured image via Facebook – Le Chéile