An anti-Islamic group founded in Germany, which it emerges now has an Irish branch, is objecting to the building of a mosque in Tralee, County Kerry. The group denies it is racist but says it wants to save Ireland from Islam. It is to launch a political party shortly.

Kerry is the rural county with the biggest population of Muslims outside the main cities, such as Cork and Dublin. Killarney already has an Islamic cultural center. However, it has no full mosque.

The second attempt in recent years to construct a mosque in Tralee on a large site is now before the planning authority, but is meeting with opposition from Pegida Ireland which has links in a number of European countries and the USA.

Pegida Ireland which is attached to the Pegida anti-Islamic organization founded in Germany in late 2014 (the name means patriotic European organization against Islamitization of the West) has begun an on-line petition against the Tralee mosque.

Pegida members campaigned in Tralee at the weekend and handed out leaflets against the mosque and calling on people to preserve their Celtic culture.

A spokesman yesterday said they are to launch a party called The Celtic People’s Party shortly and are to launch demonstrations against Islam in Wexford and Dublin shortly.

Flyers handed out on Saturday called on Kerry people to “say no to Islam and no to the mosque.” The group, which is on Facebook, denies it is racist, but wants to save Ireland from Islam.

“Stop the mosque from being built in Tralee,” its online petition, has now attracted 235 signatures.

Quoting from a poem it attributes to the Turkish Prime Minister, Pegida Ireland says mosques are barracks and minarets are bayonets.

It refuses to say how many Irish members it has.

While no objections have been received by the county council planners have postponed a decision on permission for the full mosque - pending confirmation if a call to prayer public address system is to be installed in the 23 meter high minaret and other matters.

The application which is the second in recent years – was lodged with Kerry Council on behalf of the Kerry Islamic Cultural Centre in late April and a decision would normally be due at the end of June.

The proposal is concerns a 2.24 acre site in a business park at Killerisk, on the eastern edge of Tralee. The business park contains an Eircom exchange and is bounded by housing. The mosque will have an 18 meter high dome, 23.6 meter high minaret ,parapets and assembly hall. It is primarily to act as a prayer center for the local community, but accommodation for visitors is also proposed.

A previous application, last year, was refused primarily on the grounds of traffic concerns.

There are few footpaths and there will be a need to re-align the road if permission is granted.

Since 2006 there have been a number of applications for prayer centers Islamic prayer centers in the Killerisk area, which is a short distance from Kerry General Hospital, the Manor shopping center and Kerry County Council.

A full traffic study has now been included with this application and it says daily prayers begin at 4.30 am and end at 10 pm.

Council planners are now requesting further information, particularly on the possibility of calling to prayer is to take place from a public address system. The council planners are also informing the applicants they may need written consent from adjoining landowners and householders for the development to go ahead, a planning spokesperson said yesterday.

A number of houses are likely to be over-looked.

“A decision is on hold pending further information on around nine different areas,” a spokesperson said.

Traffic remains a concern.

No objections have been received from third parties. However a group calling itself Pegida Ireland which is attached to a German anti-Islamic organization has begun an on-line petition against the Tralee mosque. 212 people have signed.

Pegida members campaigned in Tralee at the weekend and handed out leaflets against the mosque and calling on people to preserve their Celtic culture– a spokesman yesterday said they are to launch a party called The Celtic People’s Party shortly.

Flyers handed out on Saturday called on Kerry people to say no to Islam and no to the mosque. The group denies it is racist.

Kerry has the highest number of Muslims outside of Cork, Dublin and Limerick, and Islam is now Kerry’s third biggest religion. Some 833 Muslims live in Tralee and over 1500 in all live in Kerry, according to 2011 census figures. However the numbers have increased since the census, it is believed.

Killarney has a growing Muslim population and An Islamic cultural center was granted permission in the center of Killarney earlier this year and is operating in an old Post Office/Telephone exchange building.

Protests launched against Kerry mosque. The group denies it is racist but says it wants to save Ireland from Islam.iStock