Cork Solidarity TD, Mick Barry, has accused the main political parties of hypocrisy over condemning far-right protesters for surrounding Dáil Éireann while failing to show similar outrage when agitators harassed library workers around the country over the past year.
Speaking at a rally in support of library workers and members of the LGBTQ+ community in Cork, Mr Barry said he warmly welcomed the strong condemnation from all political parties of the far right protesters who surrounded Leinster House on September 21st.
“Where was the outrage and where was the disgust when the same people that were standing outside the gates of Dáil Éireann were standing outside the gates of the library, harassing and intimidating library staff as they went about their work?” he said to loud applause.
Mr Barry also took issue with media coverage of the Call to the Dáil protest by far-right activists, saying it was wrong to suggest that the 200 or so protesters were a disorganised mob with no clear or identifiable message.
“The reports in the press afterwards said that it was an unruly crowd and that their message was unclear and inchoate and that they had no clear demands – I’m not sure if that’s correct – I listened to what they said, I read the slogans on their banners and what was written on that their placards.
“And just to give a sample of what I saw and heard that day outside Dáil Éireann – there was opposition to gay rights, there was opposition to immigrants, there was opposition to democracy and there was support for banning books and for censorship.
“And I think if you join the dots on all those messages, it’s not inchoate, it’s not unclear, it is actually very clear – there is a very clear philosophy being stated here and it is the philosophy of fascism, and we need to stand against those hateful ideas and those hateful messages within our society.”
Mr Barry also criticised certain elements of the media for trying to equate the far right and the radical left and suggesting they were two sides of the same coin when the reality was that they were polar opposites. The far-right is fundamentally anti-worker, he said, unlike the radical left.
He said the media, rather than trying to present both groups as similar, would be better employed examining those within Leinster House who are “very friendly” with those who organised the Call to the Dáil protest and seek to achieve similar aims such as the rolling back of sex education in schools.
“The radical left in society stand for workers’ rights whereas the far right is anti-trade union; the radical left want a rent freeze whereas the far right say that’s communist interference with property rights and the rights of landlords.
“The radical left are opposed to racism right down the line whereas the extreme right are racist to the core; the radical left were for marriage equality whereas the extreme right is opposed to such change and wants to roll back the clock on the rights that have been hard won.”
Earlier on Saturday, the Cork Says Yes rally, which saw over 100 people brave driving rain, heard a succession of left wing speakers condemn the harassment of Cork City Library Staff by a small group of right wing protesters who claim libraries are promoting paedophilia by stocking the title, This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson.
Cllr Mick Nugent of Sinn Féin pointed out that while the far right may have forced the closure of the Grand Parade library during one of their rallies in July – something previously only achieved by the Black and Tans – Cork City Library would open again no matter what protesters do.