A significant number of English Defense League (EDL) members are second generation Irish, the far-right group claimed this week.

According to the Irish Post, EDL leader Stephen Lennon, the son of a Dublin woman, says they have no problem with the Irish in Britain 'as long as they have integrated.'

Lennon also reportedly claimed that a large number of those who joined the EDL when it was set up in Luton in 2009 were second generation Irish.

Lennon explained that the EDL would only target Irish community groups in Britain if they used 'IRA slogans' or sang 'IRA songs.'

Speaking to The Irish Post, Lennon, who leads the group under the pseudonym Tommy Robinson, clarified that he feels 'no connection' to Ireland, having never set foot in it despite it being his mother’s birthplace and the home of most of her family.

'My mum is Irish and all of her family are Irish. I do not hate the Irish, but I am not Irish. I take pride in England, the country that is my home. I do not feel any connection to Ireland at all. I have never even been there,' he said.

The EDL leader defended anti-Irish comments he posted on Twitter saying that if his mother, who was born in Dublin, had not come to England, she would be 'in Ireland picking potatoes and eating cabbage.'

'Part of Irish heritage is being able to have a laugh, hence my mum picking potatoes and boiling cabbage,' he said.

Two weeks ago the EDL made its presence felt when more than 1,000 of its supporters took to the streets of London following the killing in Woolwich of Drummer Lee Rigby, who was attacked by Muslim fundamentalists.

A total of 13 arrests were reportedly made for offences ranging from racially aggravated criminal damage to violent disorder as far-right and the anti-fascist groups that protested their march clashed.

'I will always shout No Surrender during the national anthem,' Lennon added, saying he would have no problem singing the anti-Catholic hate song despite being a Catholic himself.

'I am not politically correct and I do not care about political correctness,' he said. 'It (No Surrender) is part of the English history. It is the most famous motto in this country. And it is the motto we live by and die by.'

'When I sing No Surrender I am thinking of no surrender to the Taliban. I am thinking of no surrender to militant Islam. And when we were at war with the IRA I would have been singing 'No Surrender to the IRA.' There is no Irish person I know who would be offended if I sing No Surrender during the national anthem,' Lennon added.


EDL leader Stephen LennonThe Guardian