October 5, 2022

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There is “a disturbing trend” in Ireland, similar to the US and other parts of the world, whereby white nationalist, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-immigrant and anti-lockdown groups “seem to be coming together and echoing each other’s hateful rhetoric”, The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism has said.

Heidi Beirich, co-founder of GPAHE, said they expected the far-right movement in Ireland to continue to grow.

“One of the scariest things about this coalescence is that they are able to spread their extremist messages wider and recruit more people into their movements. Unfortunately, we expect the far-right in Ireland to continue to grow,” she said.

Ms Beirich was speaking as the GPAHE published a report which said Ireland’s “far-right scene” had grown in recent years in reaction to progress for LQBTQ+ equality, increased access to abortion and the fabricated threat of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory.

Launched in 2020, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism was founded by Ms Beirich and Wendy Via, both previously involved with the Southern Poverty Law Center, to address the “gap in efforts to stop transnational hate and far-right extremism movements”, in particular US based activity, “that is exported to other countries and across borders”.

The report warns of the proliferation of groups that “demean, harass, and inspire violence against people based on their identity traits including race, religion, ethnicity, language, national or social origin, caste, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity”.

“Irish Far-right Hate and Extremist Groups’” is one of the first country reports in a series that GPAHE will release throughout 2022 and 2023, including reports covering far-right movements in Australia, Italy, and France to be released later this year, it said.

The report also found that since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, a range of movements in Ireland have been “harnessing rage over pandemic health measures, such as anti-lockdown protests, and spreading covid-related conspiracy theories, often overlapping with other far-right extremist ideologies”.

Ms Via, co-founder and president of GPHAE, said far-right extremist movements in countries across the world are “increasingly interconnected”.

“It’s critical that people, locally and globally, understand the far-right extremist landscape, how it operates, and how the dots are connected within countries and transnationally in order to counter the threats from these groups,” she said.

“Community safety and democracies are at risk. We hope these reports will help advocates do that.”

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