Elections Show Far-Right Threat

Recent election results show there has been a rise of far-right sentiment. Five councillors associated with anti-immigrant protests have been elected, at least two of whom are directly involved in fascist activities. Candidates who celebrated the burning of accommodation centres for refugees have gained high votes.

We need a clear strategy to face them down before they continue to grow as has occurred in countries like France, Germany and Italy.

At the core of Ireland’s far right are activists who were defeated in the Repeal and Marriage Equality referendums.

They have linked a defence of traditional Ireland to opposition to ‘mass immigration’. One of the first declarations of Malachy Stenson after being elected was that he would be raising a ‘pro-life’ agenda on the local council. Gavin Pepper, the social media influencer, has described himself as ‘pro-family and pro-life’. Tom McDonell, a newly elected councillor for Newbridge has even claimed that ‘If we don’t have women breeding, we die out as a breed and we don’t want that to happen’.

These forces want to reverse the changes in Irish society and return the country to a 1950s culture where everyone was white and Catholic. They think that a focus on immigration is their ticket to mass support.

One of the ways they have grown is through the use of social media. Ireland has been targeted by an evangelical right in the US and wider fascist forces as the one country in the EU that did not have electoral representation for the far right. They systematically used social media to target any party associated with left-wing ideas.

However, this was only successful because of the deep frustration that has arisen in poorer working-class communities over issues like housing. One of the most shocking features of modern Irish society is that people wait an average of 12 years for a council house in Dublin. To make matters worse the political establishment talk constantly about ‘economic success’.

When we add the housing crisis to the levels of deprivation in areas like Finglas in Dublin, where 32 % of men and 27% of women are unemployed, you can see how scapegoating of foreigners can grow from a demoralisation about challenging the political establishment.

To effectively challenge the far right, People Before Profit is making three proposals:

• There is a need for a united left front that agrees on a Vote Left-Transfer Left pact in the next general election and to mass mobilisations on housing. As a first step, we have written an open letter to Sinn Féin and will seek meetings with other left parties.

• We need a militant anti-racist movement that has no truck with a government that panders to the far right. The elections should be a wake-up call to the many anti-racists. Thousands have marched on Black Lives Matter and on Ireland For All demonstrations. People Before Profit will engage with others to help to develop this movement.

• People Before Profit will be beefing up its social media wing to hit back at racist and sexist myths. We are asking our supporters to share this material to friends, workmates and neighbours.

If you want to help with any of these activities please consider joining our party.