THE Irish far right claim that there is a direct link between immigration and violence. They say, as their representatives in the Dáil have echoed, that unvetted military aged males are coming into Ireland and are a threat to its society and its functions.
They are a threat to Irish women and children. And do you know what? They are right. They are completely right. They are self evidently right. The facts speak for themselves.
There is a direct link between immigration and violence. Indeed so virulent is this threat that even the rumour of immigration is enough to cause violence. That’s how toxic it is. That’s how dangerous it is. That’s how violent it is.
Over the holidays a disused pub in Dublin was set on fire because it was rumoured locally that the pub was going to be used to house immigrants. It was, in fact, earmarked for housing currently homeless families but facts are only useful sometimes.
It was the latest in a number of similar buildings set on fire. The point is that immigration caused the violence. By its very mention.
The only thing indeed the Irish far right have got wrong about the immigration and violence equation is the one central ingredient. It is not immigration itself that begets violence. There is one obvious ingredient that they leave out. It is the far right sees immigration and that begets violence. The fact remains though that the far right are correct. Immigration does cause violence in Ireland and there are no more reliable sources than the far right on that matter because they are the violence.
An arsonist, after all, can tell you a lot about setting a fire. Indeed unvetted, military aged males are causing violence in Ireland and they do so in the name of Ireland itself.
Unvetted military aged males, like the far right says, are a threat to us all. They are a threat to our society. They are a threat to our Irish ways. They are a threat to our women and children. But they did not come here as immigrants. We did not import them. They are here already. Determined to protect our communities by setting fire to them. Courageously protecting the women and children by terrifying the rest of the population. Saving Irish culture by putting it up in flames.
The year ahead of us might well be a big test for democracy, something the far right despise almost as much as immigration, and have done since the end of the Second World War.
Donald Trump is going for election again and he and his acolytes have somehow managed to persuade people that the violent events we saw unfold on that January day in Washington either weren’t that bad, were staged, or were done by the other side. That is the kind of age we are living in. Attack immigrants and blame immigrants. Attack democracy and blame democracy. No wonder people believed Covid wasn’t real and that some fella on Facebook was more of a medical expert than, well, a medical expert.
As one woman said to me looking around in a supermarket at the height of the pandemic, if things are that bad where are all the bodies, as if they might be stacked in the canned goods aisle.
There will be an election in the UK where the absolute falsehoods of Brexit will be confronted and dealt out again. There will be elections too to the European Parliament in the summer and a possible Irish election before the year is out. Far right governments in Italy and Hungary will be watching closely.
Do you ever get the feeling we have been complacent for far too long? Not so long ago the height of barefaced audacity was Bertie Ahern telling us he might have won unexplained money on the horses. If he was saying that now he’d be claiming to have been the jockey on the horse as well and, sure, didn’t we all see it? It really has come to something when we get nostalgic for the old fashioned fibs of an absolute chancer.
But then chancers don’t hate anyone, they don’t set fire to places, they aren’t full of bile and prejudice. When the whole world is in a terrible state of chassis, chancers are the least of our worries, aren’t they?