Private messages from members of Ireland First, the latest far-right party formed in the country, have been uncovered, painting a very concerning picture on the group’s views on immigration and LGBTQ+ rights.
The formation of Ireland First was announced last month in Iris Oifigiúil, the official gazette for the Government. The party is led by Derek Blighe, who has been at the forefront of the recent anti-immigration protests that have taken place all over the country.
At first glance, the party appears to have conservative rather than extreme policies on the agenda, claiming that they are not racist or anti-refugee but that they simply approach matters of immigration with a “tactful line”. In a similar manner, they insist that they are not anti-LGBTQ+ or anti-trans but they simply “express concerns” about how issues regarding the queer community are taught in schools.
However, a look inside the private messages from members of this far-right party paint a “much darker picture of party members’ priorities”, according to Conor Gallagher, correspondent for the Irish Times, who managed to gain access to a private Telegram group created by Ireland First.
Reviewing thousands of messages, he uncovered discussions displaying “really overt racism, homophobia, sometimes anti-semitism and occasionally calls for violence” and “calls for men and arms”. Moreover, Gallagher noted that the most concerning part was that there was no sanction or criticism of such messages from the party leadership, which is also active in the group chat.
Much of the anger apparent in the messages of the far-right party was directed at people who participated in the recent Ireland For All solidarity march in Dublin. Lots of homophobic and racist insults were directed at those attending, with claims that many of them had been paid by the government to be there. One of the members said that the march should have been “carpet bombed”, while others called singer Christy Moore a “traitor” for speaking at the event.
Moreover, there were discussions about the anti-refugee protests taking place in the country, with some members urging others to participate, while another stated that the movement “needs guns and men” and that “all the protests in the world are not going to save us”.
A great number of hateful messages were also directed at politicians, especially members of Sinn Fein and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who was the subject of homophobic and racist abuse in the group chat.
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