Dublin’s Merrion Hotel today canceled the launch of a new Irish extreme right-wing party that was due to take place in the five-star hotel tomorrow afternoon.
The National Party circulated a press release to Irish media earlier this week inviting them to attend an “information meeting” at 3pm Thursday in the southside hotel, so as to inform the general public of their “purpose and aims.”
Among these aims, the press release outlined an anti-immigration and anti-abortion agenda, as well as an ambition to achieve a United Ireland.
A spokesperson from the Merrion Hotel, located opposite government buildings, today confirmed the cancellation of the launch, although citing no reason for this decision. It is believed the hotel was contacted by concerned members of the public who were unhappy with its role in hosting the meeting. It is not known if hotel staff were aware of the nature of the launch before hand.
Leader James Barrett, formerly of action groups Youth Defence and the Mother and Child Campaign, was due to speak at the now postponed launch, along with James Reynolds, a former chairman of the Irish Farmers Association in Longford and current national treasurer of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA).
Describing themselves as a party that will “speak for the silent majority who have seen the beginnings of ‘multiculturalism’ with growing dismay,” the National Party registered with the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) as a Third Party on August 9, 2016.
Under Irish law, a third party refers to any individual or group who accepts a donation exceeding €100 in value in any calendar year, registered candidates and political parties excluded.
So a white nationalist party is going to launch in Dublin this Thursday. Game on. pic.twitter.com/ze5oP0fl39— Mark Malone (@soundmigration) November 15, 2016
Within the brief description of their policies, the party criticized Ireland’s involvement within the EU, which it claimed has caused “an unrestricted policy of immigration to the point of population displacement” and had harsh words for the Repeal the 8th, pro-choice movement in Ireland, describing “the bloodlust of extremist groups to remove the equal right to life of the unborn child,” a right they maintain to protect.
Referring to the prospect of a united Ireland, the group stated they wish to “remind the political elites and the general commentariat . . . of the extent to which the promise presented by the Proclamation of the Republic remains unfulfilled”.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Barrett said he believed the cancellation was made because of the number of calls received by those who opposed the meeting while accusing those who contacted the hotel of being “extremists”
Shane O’Curry of the European Network Against Racism Ireland welcomed the decision, however, describing the uproar since the press release first began to appear on social media yesterday as “a very effective and positive non-violent protest by ordinary people which happened very spontaneously to stop the promotion of hatred in Ireland.”
“This new formation, the National Party, has all the hallmarks of a fascist party. Wherever fascism rears its ugly head, there’s violence, unfortunately,” he continued.
if @MerrionHotel insist on hosting the launch of the national party, we should insist on taking up space protesting on their footpath— theyfra (@unknownnouns) November 16, 2016
In keeping with growing trends across Europe, this is not the first extreme right-wing to attempt to establish themselves in Ireland in the past few years.
A similar right-wing anti-immigration group, Identity Ireland, was founded by Peter OLoughlin in 2015 and as of last week, November 11, is registered as an official Irish political party. O’Loughlin previously ran as an independent candidate in the Irish general election in February of this year but was disqualified after the second count. He also attempted to attend the launch of an Irish arm of the German anti-Islam group Pegida in Dublin in 2015 but was injured in clashes with protesters.
President Obama yesterday warned against the rise of a “crude sort of nationalism” while speaking in Greece yesterday as part of his last international visit as President of the United States. Referring the differences in his own world view and the apparent worldview of President-elect Donald Trump, Obama urged that we forego a growing sense of “tribalism” that is taking root in populist movements throughout the world, a tribalism that pushes an agenda “built around an 'us' and a 'them'.”
The Irish Times reports that an alternative date and venue will now be pursued so the launch can go ahead.