The rise of populist parties
Sir, – Bryan Fanning and David Farrell’s article “Ireland cannot ignore threat of populism” (Opinion & Analysis, August 17th) seems to offer few real solutions for preventing the rise of populist far-right politics in Ireland. Indeed, the issues they highlight in the article, while noble, centre on promoting further integration by increasing representation for minorities in the country and tackling racism, which are irrelevant to the issue at hand.
More worryingly, the authors seem to fail to grasp many of the mistakes by many European governments that have in part caused this rise in populist far-right politics.
The failure of European governments to control mass migration during the migrant crisis, let alone address concerns around integration of existing immigrant communities, has driven a significant part of the electorate to vote for populist far-right parties. The success of the Sweden Democrats and the AfD in Germany, which have quickly become large parties in countries that recently experienced mass migration, should be evidence enough of the dangers of failing to address citizens’ concerns in this regard.
By all means, we should encourage greater integration and fight against racism as the authors argue. But to believe that is enough to prevent the rise of the far-right seems naive, particularly in light of the examples of Germany and Sweden.
Perhaps a more effective way to prevent the rise of populist far-right politics is to learn from the events in recent years that have driven people to vote for such parties and prevent making the same mistakes. – Yours, etc,