On Saturday, December 14, hundreds of people joined the anti-racist march held in Dublin outside the Leinster house, the Irish parliament building, in counter to a rally organized by the Irish far right against anti-hate speech/ hate crime legislation.
The anti-racism march call was given various progressive organisations, including Solidarity Against Racism and Fascism (SARF), Unite Against Racism and the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR), among others, under the banner of ‘Rally for Peace on Earth – Against the Politics of Hatred’. While, the right wing rally was organized by Irish Freedom Party and Yellow Vest Ireland
Marchers in the rally for peace denounced all forms of racism and fascism in Ireland and chanted slogans like “listen up and listen clear, refugees are welcome here.”
In their statement, the organizers said, “the far-right is trying to divide us. They prey on our concerns about housing, job security, and health care. They try to pull us apart with divisive tactics and distract us from working together for positive change. They try to get us to blame others and fight each other instead of campaigning against the causes of poverty, exclusion, corruption, and austerity. They seek to divide because they have no solutions.”
“We must at this time continue to hold the space of inclusivity and openness against the forces of bigotry, division, and hate,” the statement added.
Hate Speech Legislation
The Irish government launched a public consultation earlier in October to strengthen the country’s existing laws regulating hate speech. While the first consultation phase ended on Friday, December 13, a second phase of consultation on the issue of hate crime will be launched in the new year.
Irish right-wing groups have asserted that the proposed law on hate speech and hate crimes “will pose a threat to the freedom of speech”. However, such unfounded claims have been rejected by progressive and left-wing groups in the country. It has been pointed out that far-right elements are in fact the major perpetrators of hate speech and hate crimes in Ireland, especially against migrants and minorities.
Cadres of the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) also joined the anti-racist demonstration against the Irish right-wing in Dublin. The Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) also expressed solidarity with the anti-racist rally, with its cadres also participating in Saturday’s march.