Members of Italian PM Giorgia Meloni’s far-right party to speak at Kilkenny conference

The conservative conference taking place in Kilkenny will feature speakers from the Italian far-right party Brothers of Italy.

Image of far-right prime minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, standing to deliver a speech surrounded by her ministers, some of whom will present at a conference in Kilkenny. She is wearing a silver coloured dress, has long blonde hair and is holding paper in her hands.
Image: Via X - @FratellidItalia

On Friday, November 3, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) party is hosting a political conference in Kilkenny, with senior members of the Italian far-right ruling party Brothers of Italy (Fratelli D’Italia) set to be in attendance.

The conference, titled ‘Traditions and Innovation: A Conservative Future for European Farmers’, will see right-wing delegates from across Europe descend on the Lyratt Estate in Kilkenny for three days.

The anti-federalist political group, which is led by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, with vice presidents from the Spanish Vox and Polish Law and Justice parties, espouse among their values the defence of national sovereignty, private property, limited government, family values and the devolution of power. 

Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party came to power during the country’s last general election in September 2022, when they gained 26% of the votes, making them the dominant party and leading to Meloni being appointed as the first woman to hold the office of Italian Prime Minister.

During her electoral campaign, Meloni employed some of the same narratives used by the Hungarian leader, Viktor Orbán, especially when discussing women’s rights and the LGBTQ+ community. She rallied against a so-called “LGBT lobby” and denounced “gender theory” and a supposed “dominant ideology of the politically correct”.

During one of her public speeches, she used the following words: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby! Yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology! Yes to the culture of life. No to the abyss of death. Yes to the universality of the Cross. No to the violence of Islam. Yes to safe borders. No to mass immigration. Yes to the work of our people. No to big international finance.”

Earlier this year, under Meloni’s leadership, Italy has begun to remove same-sex parents from their children’s birth certificates. The move sparked protests across the EU, including one taking place in Dublin.

While Meloni is not expected to attend the conference in Kilkenny, other senior members of her far-right party, Brothers of Italy, are among the scheduled speakers.

Along with participants from Belgium, Poland, Romania, and other Eastern European countries are a number of high-profile names from Irish media and politics, including Independent TD Mattie McGrath, broadcaster Niall Boylan, and Senator Sharon Keogan. 

In 2022, Senator Keogan resigned from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth after a committee hearing on surrogacy was suspended due to her “disrespectful”, “crude”, and “cold” comments towards testimonies of people who had obtained surrogacy services. 

She also made headlines in March of this year for her “unspoken assertion” that Minister Roderic O’Gorman had channelled funding to LGBTQ+ community groups because of his sexual orientation.

According to the ECR programme, the conference aims to address “challenges and opportunities in European regulations and collaboration on livestock, agriculture and the green economy.”

As well as panel discussions, interviews and a gala dinner, attendees can partake in activities such as falconry, archery and baking.

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