Protests in the west Irish town of Clare regarding the local government’s decision to place 33 asylum seekers in a vacant hotel have caught the interest of international far-right figures. Speaking with RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, ISD Senior Analyst Ciarán O’Connor explains how the international far right is capitalising on these protests to further their own agenda, and how this plays into broader anti-migrant narratives and sentiment.
“What you are seen is that internationally, anti-migrant sentiments are been exploited and supported by explicitly anti-immigration figures or groups who are primarily motivated in creating tension and division […] and use these situations as a rallying cause for their own agenda,” said Ciarán, adding that support for these protests gain traction across various social media platforms and countries.
“This isn’t just isolated to Clare, in the past 6 or 7 months, many incidents have been capitalised upon, and amplified, by international far-right figures, groups and communities.”
Ciarán highlights the common denominator among anti-migrant terms and narratives across different countries: they are all inspired by the same underlying conspiracy theory. “What these all speak to is what is called ‘Great Replacement‘ theory this idea that there are foreigners been deliberately moved into northern communities to replace locals at the direction of the local government to try and replace local populations. White supremacist and white nationalist conspiracy theories underline this [narrative].”
To prevent the far right from exploiting these divisions, he recommends adequate government policy and consultation between the government and communities.
The interview starts at 15:18 and is available on the RTÉ website.