Call for solidarity against growing threat from far right activity in Ireland

Senator warns that if movement not dealt with ‘we will live to regret it’

Senator Eileen Flynn told the Seanad ‘the word ‘patriot’ has been used as something to divide rather than unite us’. Photograph: Alan Betson/ The Irish Times

Senator Eileen Flynn told the Seanad ‘the word ‘patriot’ has been used as something to divide rather than unite us’. Photograph: Alan Betson/ The Irish Times

 

A warning has been issued about the threat to Irish society from growing far-right activity and the need for solidarity to prevent its development.

Independent Senator Eileen Flynn said she was “very afraid” of the rise of this movement in Ireland, adding that if it was not dealt with “we will live to regret it”.

The Taoiseach’s nominee referred to recent protests “where people have not worn masks, with people engaging in pure nonsense behaviour in the middle of a pandemic”.

There was violence at the protests where participants and speakers included members of far-right parties, she said.

“We have seen our tricolour, the flag of every person who lives in Ireland, being used during these violent protests. The word ‘patriot’ has been used as something to divide rather than unite us.”

Speaking in the Seanad, Ms Flynn said the far right’s aim was “to pit neighbour against neighbour, brother against brother and sister against sister.

“The only way to fight this is to stand together against it.”

Referring to the Proclamation’s pledge to “cherish all the children of the nation equally” she said that as a child “my mother always told me that blowing out someone else’s candle will not make mine shine any brighter.

“She was right; it is by helping others that makes our own candles shine brighter.”

Ms Flynn said that everyone had a duty of care and a responsibility to the people of Ireland where they were a member of a political party or none.

“We should stand together against the rise of the far right. Now is the time for all Ireland to stand and unite in solidarity, not division.

“If we do not stand together against this threat, we will live to regret it. We should live and let live.

“I encourage everyone, especially this weekend, young and old, to wear their masks to protect themselves and others around them.”