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Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups

There are no far right organisations of particular significance in Republic of Ireland, except for several small Radical Right parties and skinhead groups. Migration from Eastern Europe, however, has led to an emergence of neo-Nazi immigrants. For example, a Slovak neo-Nazi organisation in Dublin is promoting a creation of a “Facebook for white people” called “Aryanspace”.

With no prominent Neo-Fascist or Neo-Nazi organisations at the social or political level, experts on the Irish radical right have increasingly had to search around for functionally equivalent forms of populist nationalism at the party-political level. One seminal article that has explored the failure of the radical right in Ireland was Eoin O’Malley’s excellent (2008) article in the academic journal, Western European Politics. What he found was that – despite Ireland being a place amenable to the growth of a radical right party - the only generally accepted radical-right group, the Immigration Control Platform (ICP), had failed to register any notable electoral support during its period of operation from 2002-2011. Moreover, O’Malley goes onto argue that Sinn Fein has taken the place of the radical right within the Irish party system – combining an anti-establishment platform with radical nationalism that has also (coincidentally) attracted younger voters with anti-immigrant and intolerant positions.[1]

Looking beyond party political manifestations of the radical nationalist movements, social movement manifestations of the radical right have emerged in the period of study. In November 2017, an Irish branch of the pan-European ethno-nationalist organisation, Generation Identity, was established – with Facebook page and website set up at the time of the launch.[3] Most of their activities have been limited to publicity stunts (such as the unfurling of banners in Dublin over scaffolds and bridges calling for people to ‘Defend Ireland’) and handing out leaflets concerning ‘African Gangs’ in Balbriggan. The group currently has 3,879 ‘likes’ on Facebook and 3,568 followers on Twitter . It should be noted that the Irish chapter of the movement has questionable autonomy for the UK and other core European chapters in Germany and France – acting more as a placeholder rather than a substantive separate movement away from its Continental cousins.[4]

Nevertheless, all this does not mean that small right-wing radical parties are not represented in the political arena. However, only one can be safely called a radical right. This is the National Party (NP) led by Justin Barrett. Barrett is a longtime anti-abortion campaigner and Eurosceptic who has caused controversy for attending events organized by neo-fascist organizations such as the National Democratic Party in Germany and Forza Nuova in Italy.

The IR uses conspiracy rhetoric regarding immigration and claims that its existence is driven primarily by the desire to preserve the Irish nation and Irish people - implying that the "Irish people" may not exist at some point in the future due to mass immigration and national decline.

In the recent elections, the NP fielded only ten candidates. Barret himself was not one of them. His deputy James Reynolds, who relishes his description as "one of the most controversial figures in Longford [a rural district in the west of Ireland] agriculture", did run in his home constituency with 1.7 per cent of the first preference vote. So the threat to the NP lies not in its current size, but in the extent to which the issue of immigration or Ireland's relationship with the EU becomes more politically important.

Also among the ultra-right, one can mention the Irish Freedom Party, which supports Ireland's exit from the EU. It calls for "reclaiming control over 'immigration', 'lawmaking' and 'marine resources' by leaving the EU. Using the broader discourse characteristic of today's "culture wars", the party defends free speech and denounces "the culture of political correctness and the closure of debates on vital issues."

We can also mention the Anti-Corruption Ireland party, which proclaims its goal the fight against corruption. However, she sees the fight against immigration as another goal, she also sees the hand of George Soros in the action of the migration crisis and considers Islam a threat to the existence of Irish culture.

All these parties participated in the March 2020 elections, but did not get enough votes to get their deputies into parliament.

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[1] O’Malley, E. (2008) ‘Why is there no Radical Right Party in Ireland?’ West European Politics 31(5). P.961

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