Members of an Irish Church charity have participated in an anti-far right rally in Dublin, “speaking up for love and unity, not hate and division”.
Driving the news
Members of Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, joined in December 14 on the #Rally4Peace at the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish Parliament.
The rally was organised by the Solidarity Alliance against Racism and Fascism (SARF), which called the rally in response, it said, to “increases in hate crime and hate speech in Ireland, which are linked to an increasingly well-resourced far-right”.
“Proud to stand against division and fear”, Trócaire tweeted in a message of support before the event.
On the day of the rally, the charity added on Twitter that it was “delighted” to support the anti-hate speech rally, “speaking up for love and unity, not hate and division”.
The #Rally4Peace demonstrators were met in their manifestation by counter-protestors carrying Irish flags and brandishing signs saying “no to hate speech laws” and “keep Ireland Irish”.
The flashpoint over the two groups of demonstrators, as those slogans suggest, are the anti-hate speech laws Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan flagged in October he would like to introduce but which some citizens claim will restrict free speech.
Why it matters
The company Trócaire kept in Saturday’s anti-far right protest – including various proudly left-wing organisations – led to criticism of the charity on Twitter for what some saw as an excessively political statement.
But many Twitter users praised Trócaire for its presence at the rally, “for having the courage and innate decency to stand by the marginalised of our society”, as one individual on the social network put it.
“Solidarity with our friends in Trócaire”, added the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR) on Twitter.
“Thank you for coming out in this courageous stance in support of a world free from fear, hatred and bigotry”, the INAR expressed to the Bishops’ agency.
“Thank you Trócaire for standing for peace, love, unity in this dark time”, said another Twitter user.
For the record
Just as for Trócaire, the rise in hate speech in Ireland is also a worry of the Irish Bishops.
Last December 4, at the conclusion of their Winter 2019 General Meeting, the prelates expressed their “concern” at “the use of intolerant language in public and political discourse as well as the growing hostility towards migrants and refugees coming to Ireland”.
Dublin archbishop Diarmuid Martin has recently said too that he is “horrified” by the “new language of racism” in Ireland.