Event Details (RW2020)

1:00 PM, 04 Feb 2020 - 2:00 PM, 04 Feb 2020, The Creative Zone, Boole Library

Is Ireland becoming xenophobic? The rise of the Far Right.


Few places have changed as dramatically as Ireland in recent decades, as the country changed from being a conservative society marked by high emigration and high levels of poverty to one which is more diverse, open and tolerant. Today’s Ireland welcomes immigrants and many of the emigrant Irish have also chosen to return home.

Not everyone has welcomed these changes. There has been a noticeable increase in activity, both real-world and online, by a variety of extremist far-right movements. Social media trolls broadcast hate-speech incorporating white supremacist, xenophobic and islamophobic views. There have been arson attacks on key people and locations, sometimes orchestrated by a small group of travelling agitators moving from town to town. As the current general election campaign again shows, minor political candidates and parties have sought to weaponise these forms of hatred for political ends.

These trends are clearly visible in other countries in Europe and beyond. A notable feature of these movements, which proclaim themselves to be ‘nationalist’ and ‘anti-globalist’, has been the extent to which they share common ideas. New versions of old conspiracy theories, frequently antisemitic, are accompanied by a range of more modern far-right concerns, notably climate change denial, anti-vaccine movements and wild conspiracy theories. The rise of extreme violence on the far right is shown by cases such as Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, Anders Behring Breivik in Norway and a number of far-right killers in the USA.

Incitement and violence are not victim-free. These movements and ways of thinking constitute a direct attack on fundamental values of decency and rights in any society. I will attempt to explore the extent to which they may pose such a threat in Ireland, what factors, if any, might make this less likely and what measures could be taken to counter this form of toxic hatred in Ireland today.

Speaker bio: Dr Piaras MacEinrí

Free - all welcome. Organised by USWG

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