Radical politician invited to Irish university -- BNP leader Griffin calls Holocaust "profitable lie" and finds gays "revolting"
Posted on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 10:37 AM
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|BNP's Nick Griffin|
Leader of the British National Party Nick Griffin is set to speak at University College Cork after reportedly accepting an invite from the Government and Politics Society to take part in a debate there.
The radical politician caused a stir this October after Trinity College Dublin effectively banned him from its campus after pressure groups including an anti-fascism campaign organization and a Jewish students' union mounted a high-profile campaign of opposition to the visit.
The surprise cancellation of the Trinity event sparked off a heated debate on the boundaries of freedom of speech in major Irish newspapers as well as as flourish of letters in the Irish Times, Ireland's paper of record.
Many have questioned whether the decision to cancel the event was really based on security, and argued that free speech demands that he be given a platform to air his views.
Fears reportedly ran high that Griffin was on a recruitment junket, and would try use the Trinity appearance as means of promoting the establishment of an Irish branch of the party.
Griffin is head of the British National Party (BNP), a far-right political entity that takes a tough, often racist, stance on radical Islam, immigration, and minorities.
The party emerged as a splinter group from the National Front in 1982 and restricted its membership to only "indigenous British" until 2010.
In the last British general election the party received under 2% of total votes, and is generally seen as extremist and racist.
Griffin himself has done little to downplay that image: he has a history of Holocaust denial (an "extremely profitable lie"), homophobia (gays are "revolting"), and a longstanding opposition to Islam.
He was arrested for suspected incitement to hatred for remarks he made about Muslims during a BBC documentary in 2004.
The Trinity debate which Griffin had been invited to take part in what entitled: "That This House Believes That Immigration Has Gone Too Far." He was to speak in favour of the motion.
The UCC society's decision to invite him to speak in Cork will foist the problem of how best to deal with Griffin and his radical views onto UCC's management and security, who will no doubt be less than pleased to find out that a potential public relations and security liability has landed in their back yard.
Trinity's handling of the event was less than graceful: the last minute cancellation did little to quell fears that the decision to ban Griffin was based on his political ideology rather than security.
The notorious David Irving, for whom Griffin once stewarded a Holocaust denial meeting, was the last speaker to fall foul of UCC's security ahead of an upcoming campus event.
Protesters opposed Irving's appearance on national television as well as his debate on campus, while a high profile march took place outside the college gates.
Judging by the protests that pre-empted his first possible appearance at Trinity, he can expect more of the same from UCC.