Irish police are monitoring prominent far-right activist Tommy Robinson, who arrived in Ireland ahead of a refugee solidarity rally scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon.
Robinson, 40, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, is the founder of the islamophobic group the English Defence League and is a convicted criminal on multiple counts of violence, fraud, and drug possession.
The Irish Times reports that Robinson has been in regular contact with Irish anti-immigration activists, prompting him to travel to Dublin on Wednesday, February 15.
Robinson denied being invited to Ireland and said he has traveled to the country as a journalist to "go where the news is".
In a message on his Telegram page, he said he has traveled to Ireland to "ask questions and put together a piece, to show what’s happening".
Gardaí are aware of Robinson's presence in Ireland and will monitor his presence at any protests that take place throughout the country.
There are concerns that his presence at a counter-demonstration to the pro-refugee "Ireland for All" rally on Saturday afternoon could inflame tensions between pro and anti-immigration groups in Ireland.
There have been a number of violent incidents tied to anti-immigration protests in Ireland in recent weeks, including the burning of a Dublin building that was believed to be earmarked for refugees and asylum seekers.
Men with dogs, sticks, and baseball bats also attacked a migrant camp in Dublin last month, while a man was arrested on Wednesday night after driving a car into a crowd of anti-immigration protesters in north inner-city Dublin, injuring one demonstrator. The man is due before the courts in the coming weeks.
A Garda source told the Irish Times that Irish police have been attempting to reduce between pro and anti-immigration groups but said Robinson's arrival in Ireland has the potential to "reverse those efforts".