The brutal and senseless knife attacks on children and a creche worker shocked the people of Dublin. Our solidarity goes out to the little five-year-old girl who is in a critical condition in Temple Street Hospital. Full support should also be given to the community of Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire who will be deeply traumatised by what they saw.
A special word of thanks should be given to Caio Benicio, a Brazilian Deliveroo driver who tackled the assailant with his helmet and put his life on the line in the hopes of saving others.
In the aftermath of the attack elements of the far right turned this awful incident into an occasion to attack migrants. Yet the nationality of the perpetrator has nothing to do with the incident. In 2017, for example, an Irish-born school principal, Alan Hawe, killed his wife and family as he faced an imminent marriage breakup. Naturally, the far right had nothing to say about this murder.
According to a police statement, the perpetrator is an Irish citizen. In modern multicultural Ireland it is of some significance that the person who went to rescue the children was a Brazilian Deliveroo driver– the very people the far right has been stirring up hatred against.
The mobilisation of the far right came from two sources. First, the anti-abortion website, Gript, ran a headline that claimed that the perpetrator was an ‘Algerian national’. The same website rarely reports that the perpetrator of other crimes is an ‘Irish national’. Second, elements of the far right who have built up a social media presence called on their supporters to congregate in the city centre for 7pm. Gavin Pepper, a far right agitator, has since deleted a tweet calling for “Everyone city centre tonight 7pm no excuses everyone out enough is enough spire #Irelandisfull”.
Their slogan ‘Get them Out’ is meant as an attack on all migrants. It sends out a message that ‘pure born Irish people’ should have more rights and be treated differently from the migrant one-fifth of the workforce who keep hospitals, hotels, takeaways going. It is a racist message that aims to divide.
Today, the mainstream media expresses shock at this far-right riot. They will even call for moderation against the extremes of the ‘far right’ and ‘far left’. This is to fundamentally misread what is happening in Irish society.
The truth is that the far right has been treated with kid gloves by the Irish establishment and media. They have been allowed to intimidate library staff and block airports even while Gardaí stand aside. This has been in the name of ‘intelligent policing’. Behind it lies a political strategy from elements of the Irish establishment who fear the prospect of left-wing growth. They would far prefer to use racist sentiment to thwart any left advance.
Far from any equivalence, it has been organisations like People Before Profit who have warned against and confronted the poison of the far right.
As soon as the riots led to looting and attacks on police vehicles, Gript journalists expressed their horror. Their reaction was reminiscent of the way Ian Paisley used to stoke up hatred against republicans and then wash his hands of any association with violence.
The truth is that far-right ideas have found a small hearing in parts of the north inner city of Dublin where many of the inequalities of Irish society are concentrated. Beside the gleaming office blocks of the IFSC stand working-class communities where poverty and precarious employment are visible. Tragically, traditional organisations like trade unions are largely absent because they have refused to fight properly for worker rights. The police also regularly target working-class youth while ignoring the crimes of the financial elite just a stone’s throw away.
Before these recent riots, the far right was being pushed back as tens of thousands joined in solidarity marches for Palestine. We need to keep pushing them back.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has called a rally for Monday 27 November, 1pm at the GPO, O’Connell St. This is a most welcome response and we urge everyone to attend and show that the vast majority of the country have no time for the fascists and the far-right and will stand up to them. We encourage all workers in the city centre to walk out and join the protest.
Beyond that, we need to rebuild a fighting left that turns anger onto the real culprits of class rule – the bankers, vulture funds and capitalists who squeeze us while encouraging fear and division.
And we need to stand rigidly against this division when it seeks to exploit the kind of senseless tragedy we witnessed yesterday to suit its own ends. Today we again send our solidarity to the families and the whole community at Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire.