April 20, 2024 | Irish Examiner

Ireland’s gardaí’s “soft touch-approach” emboldening far-right and conspiracy groups in Ireland

ISD Senior Analyst Aoife Gallagher spoke to the Irish Examiner about how far-right agitators and conspiracy groups are becoming “increasingly more violent” toward politicians after a group of masked people defaced the private property of the country’s Children’s Minister, Roderic O’Gorman, with little pushback from law enforcement. She said the gardaí is having a “soft-touch approach.” 

“Unless something changes, the direction of travel is only becoming more clear,” Aoife said, adding that “those who are willing to engage in violence and intimidation will become more emboldened and continue to act with impunity.” 

On Thursday, 18 April, a group of 12 mainly masked people gathered outside the home of O’Gorman in west Dublin, defacing his property with defamatory banners. Despite gardaí (police officers in Ireland) being called to the scene, and observing the activity, no arrests were made. 

Gardaí later told the Irish Examiner that their powers are limited to “defined” criminal offences and they could not arrest individuals for wearing face coverings. In regard to the possible escalation of another protest organised by far-right groups in a location in the city centre, where homeless asylum seekers are sleeping in tents, they said they have a policing plan in place that includes physical presence.