Given the draconian nature of Irish libel laws, which inhibit the discussion of particularly controversial matters, one has to tread very carefully when examining the emergence of a tiny but surprisingly vociferous hard-right movement in Ireland. A movement which apparently enjoys the patronage or sympathy of several well-known figures.
However it would be remiss of me not to draw attention to some developments on the fringes of Irish politics in 2018. These include the appearance late last year of the British journalist and alt-right fellow-traveller James Delingpole at the Festival of Politics in Dublin, alongside the conservative newspaper columnists Ian O’Doherty and Ruth Dudley Edwards. Both individuals also starred on two editions of Delingpole’s YouTube podcast show, which is heavily promoted on the controversial website, Breitbart, for which he pens a regular column. Another guest at the festival was Hermann Kelly, the Nigel Farage associate and a member of Ireland’s anti-European clique, the Irexit Freedom To Prosper Party, who had previously appeared on a rather unsavoury Irish-based YouTube channel (alongside the notorious British far-right spokesperson Jim Dowson).
This same channel interviewed the author John Waters in October 2018, who had addressed the launch of the Irexit grouping some months previously in February. It also posts items – with or without permission – by a well-known and increasingly contentious former reporter who has similarly hosted online discussions with Waters. As in the United States and the United Kingdom, Google’s video publishing platform in Ireland has become a mechanism by which many figures on the further right of the political spectrum are being brought together.