Dublin riots: Hate legislation to be on statute books by Christmas, Micheál Martin says

Tánaiste condemned messages posted on social media urging people to attack foreigners in Dublin on Thursday

The Government hopes to have incitement to hate legislation on the statute books by Christmas as he strongly condemned messages posted on social media urging people to attack foreigners in Dublin city centre on Thursday, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said

Mr Martin said that one of the worrying aspects of what unfolded on Thursday was the way that far-right activists used social media platforms to mobilise people to come into Dublin city centre to riot.

On one invite-only Telegram group, a man can be heard urging people to descend on Dublin city centre by 7pm and saying the authorities will not be able to control them if they start splintering into smaller groups and head for different locations around the city centre.

“Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up. And any f**king g**o, foreigner, anyone, just kill them, just f**king kill them. Let’s get this on the news, let’s show the f**king media that we’re not a pushover, that no more foreigners are allowed into this poxy country,” the man said.


Mr Martin said that he was deeply concerned about “the level of hatred and bile” that was being posted on social media which was “absolutely unacceptable” and the Government would bring in anti-hate legislation to deal with it, “I think, very quickly, before Christmas.”

Mr Martin said that Coimisiún na Meán, the broadcast and online media regulator, had already engaged with some social media platforms.

“Coimisiún na Meán did work quickly with some social media platforms and, Minister [for Media] Catherine Martin said, got really good co-operation from a number of them. The X platform, formerly Twitter, is not co-operating, it seems to me, and a lot of material on that platform is absolutely unacceptable.

“The Government will deal robustly with this, we have to deal robustly with it because the protection of citizens is the priority of any government. I think we also have to look at our laws. I mean, threatening to kill people to me, is an offence punishable by law.”

Speaking in Cork on Saturday, Mr Martin said the coarseness of commentary on some social media platforms was deeply disturbing but equally disturbing was the level of disinformation that was being posted.

“It’s a serious threat to democracy because what we’re witnessing is intolerant people who don’t believe in debating, who don’t believe in discussing issues.”

Mr Martin said that he understood that many migrants to Ireland are now afraid but those who seek to peddle hate and racism need to recognise that Ireland is an inclusive modern multicultural society with an expanded population and an expanded economy.

“We are a modern, progressive, inclusive society that is worth fighting for and worth protecting and worth recommitting ourselves to – you go into our hospitals, we have people of all nationalities working there, you go into our schools, you can meet up to 25 nationalities, all doing well.

“And likewise, Irish people are all over the world, working all over Europe, Irish people are working all over the globe. And that’s the nature of the modern era and we must not be intimidated by the kind of narrative that we witness online that the vast, vast, majority of Irish people have no time for.

“Fundamentally, Irish people believe in freedom of speech, of opinion, of mobility and they believe in inclusivity The fundamental value of decency is a hallmark of Irish people and we must not allow ourselves to be intimidated from those values, from that sense of decency.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times