PLANS by anti-Islamist group Pegida to hold a demonstration in Limerick later this month has raised concerns locally.
Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins said it was “worrying” that Lutz Bachmann, the controversial German founder of the far right organisation, is to speak at a conference in the city later this June after accepting an invitation from anti-immigration group Identity Ireland.
No date or venue have yet been disclosed for the event.
Bachmann founded Pegida, the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West, in Dresden in October 2014. The 43-year-old PR consultant was recently fined €9,600 for incitement following a vile Facebook outburst in which he described immigrants as “scum” and “cattle”.
According to Deputy Collins, both Pegida and Identity Ireland hold extremist views and openly call for the persecution of minority groups. The policies they pursue, he said, are not supported by Fianna Fáil.
“Indeed many Irish people who have emigrated down through the years would fall foul of the anti-immigration policies that Pegida espouse,” said Deputy Collins.
The Limerick TD went on to claim that Identity Ireland has virtually no support as a political party in Ireland.
“It’s only candidate in the General Election secured 0.3 per cent of the vote, which clearly demonstrates that there is little tolerance for the hate speech that the party peddles. I certainly won’t be supporting the demonstration, but I respect the right for all political groups to be allowed organise and participate in a peaceful demonstration.”
In response to the Limerick TD’s comments, Identity Ireland told the Limerick Post that they will be “waiting with bated breath” for him to produce the evidence to back up his “wild assertions of our open call to persecute minority groups”.
“If only Deputy Collins was as quick to condemn violent attacks on his fellow citizens, such as when members of our party were violently assaulted in full public view, Ireland would be a much better place. Not all of us had the fortune of being born into a political dynasty which has being draining the treasury of the Republic for decades.”
The statement continued: “We will be happy to accept a full and frank apology from Deputy Collins as soon as he gets around to it. We would also like to offer Deputy Collins an opportunity to debate these issues in public, an offer we’re sure he will refuse.
“Also, can Deputy Collins inform the people of Ireland how he intends to house all new arrivals, especially considering our severe housing shortage and homeless crisis?
“A clarification from Fianna Fáil on the insane open border policies which are causing havoc all across Europe would also be nice.”
Commenting on the proposed Pegida demonstration for the city, a spokesman for an Garda Síochána explained that it facilitates peaceful protests.
“We fully recognise people’s democratic right to peacefully protest and will facilitate this. We also recognise the rights of others to go about their lawful business and the day to day needs of the business community operations and local residents. We would urge any organisations who intend to protest to notify An Garda Síochána and other local authorities.”
by Alan Jacques