Merrion Hotel cancels launch of anti-immigration political party

The National Party says it also stands against a ‘dictatorial’ EU and is anti-abortion

Justin Barrett, the president of the National Party. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Justin Barrett, the president of the National Party. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Merrion Hotel in Dublin has cancelled an “information meeting” on an anti-immigration and anti-abortion political party for Ireland which was due to be staged there.

The National Party had circulated a short press release earlier this week informing the media of an event due to take place at the five-star hotel situated across from Government Buildings at 3pm on Thursday.

However, a spokeswoman for the Merrion said it has now cancelled the booking, but refused to give a reason for why this was done.

The National Party claims that it wants to “remind the political elites and the general commentariat . . . of the extent to which the promise presented by the Proclamation of the Republic remains unfulfilled”.

It cited the Irish economy’s “unsustainable debt”, Ireland’s “unrestricted policy of immigration to the point of population displacement” and “the blood lust of extremist groups to remove the equal right to life of the unborn child” in its release.

It also describes the European Union as “dictatorial” and “federal”, and decries the growth of multiculturalism in Irish society.

The group’s president is former Mother and Child Campaign spokesman Justin Barrett.

Mr Barrett and Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association treasurer James Reynolds were due to speak at the cancelled event.

Speaking to The Irish Times , Mr Reynolds, who is also the party’s deputy president, said he had been informed by the hotel that the booking was cancelled due to a barrage of calls from members of the public opposing the meeting and those behind it.

Asked if the National Party represents extremist views, as has been claimed on social media, he replied: “We’re not extreme at all, I totally reject that.”

He said the party was launched some months back and has already held a number of “well-attended” meetings across the country, but did not give a figure for membership.

He accused those who had called the Merrion to complain about the event of being “extremists” themselves, and said it was a “poor reflection” that their request was acceded to.

He said international media, including the BBC, France24 and RT, had been invited to the meeting, and that an alternative date and venue will now be sought so it can go ahead.

‘Common sense’

Responding to the cancellation, Shane O’Curry, of the European Network Against Racism Ireland, which asked its followers to register their displeasure about the meeting with the Merrion, hailed it as “a great day for common sense and humanity.

“What we saw here was a very effective and positive non-violent protest by ordinary people which happened very spontaneously to stop the promotion of hatred in Ireland.

“This new formation, the National Party, has all the hallmarks of a fascist party. Wherever fascism rears its ugly head, there’s violence, unfortunately,” he said, adding that the party and its followers are free to voice their opinions elsewhere.

The latest controversy comes following a string of attempts to establish Irish political movements which represent far-right ideals over the last year.

Gardaí were called to the Jury’s Inn hotel on Dublin’s Parnell Street to break up scuffles between rival factions at a launch event for the Identity Ireland group, headed by anti-immigration campaigner Peter O’Loughlin, in March 2015.

Mr O’Loughlin was later injured in clashes with self-proclaimed anti-fascist protesters in Dublin earlier this year when he attempted to attend the launch of an Irish arm of the German anti-Islam group Pegida.