There’s been widespread condemnation of the Irish far right after the Irish Examiner revealed far-right protestors targeted Dublin Mayor Hazel Chu at her home yesterday. According to the report roughly 30 people turned up at the Mansion House, some with banners reading “Our Lives Matter”.
Activists, politicians, and anti-racism groups have denounced the incident. Le Chéile described it as “completely unacceptable” and “not a one-time event”.
Targeted for hate
Referring to yesterday’s incident, the Dublin Mayor told the Irish Examiner she didn’t think she was in danger “but it was deeply uncomfortable”. At one stage a female protestor attempted to shake Chu’s hand. As she was backing away Chu related that “two of her mates surrounded me on either side and started questioning why I was wearing a mask”.
Gardaí have since arrested one woman for violation of public health regulations and issued her a fine.
It’s currently not known who was behind the protest. But in recent weeks a former member of Ógra Fianna Fáil was planning a protest outside Chu’s home.
In a message posted on his Facebook page on 9 January, Niall McCall referred to Chu as the “Chinese Communist Lord Mayor of Dublin.” Citing her criticism of the garda shooting of George Nkencho in late December, McCall accused her of suggesting “Gardaí are all horrible racists”. And that she’s “incited a race war in Ireland”.
Going on, McCall argued “She cannot continue to get away with this type of behaviour”. And given this Chu “must be held accountable by the Irish people”. He invited people to join a private Facebook group in order to organise a protest outside the Mansion House.
Last July McCall attended a National Party rally which called for the resignation of minister for children Roderic O’Gorman. The Green Party minster was targeted by the far right with homophobic conspiracy theories in the period leading up to the protest.
The result of “consistent far-right and racist abuse”
Anti-racism group Le Chéile has condemned the attack on Chu. In a press release it described it as “completely unacceptable”. What’s more, it argued “Nobody should be subjected to this intimidation and abuse, not least in their home”.
Pointing to the far right’s history of targeting Chu, they highlighted that:
This was not a one-time event. This is the result of consistent far-right and racist abuse towards the Mayor online which has escalated to the point where the far-right have felt emboldened to turn up at the Mayor’s home and harass her.
The group said people “must stand together” against extremism “and challenge racism in all its forms”. To that end, Le Chéile said it’s “encouraging the wider community to stand with Mayor Chu at this time”.
Roderic O’Gorman also voiced his disgust at the incident. On Twitter he wrote that “Nobody should ever have to endure this kind of abuse and fear for their family”. And, echoing Le Chéile, that “Racism must be challenged”.
Spokesperson for Fingal Communities Against Racism (FCAR) Dr. Lucy Michael described Chu as being a “steadfast figure in the face of immense racism and harassment”. Dr. Michael pointed out that Chu shouldn’t experience “harassment based on her ethnicity”. And she should be able to carry out her political and personal duties in peace.
This article was updated on Friday 22 January to include a statement from the spokesperson for Fingal Communities Against Racism.
Featured image via YouTube – Foras na Gaelige