Kilkenny was the first to successfully oppose a Direct Provision centre that the Bertie Ahern FF government planned to build here at Leggetsrath in the millennium year of 2000 AD. The campaign, which included seeking a High Court injunction, was led by Council staff officer Mike O’Brien, a band musician and popular local radio host as well.
That campaign was supported by Phil Hogan TD. who was vociferous against any idea of a Direct Provision centre being built anywhere in Kilkenny. Most other local politicians here opposed it too. In fact the temporary centre for immigrants at John’s Green was closed down as well, once the government had taken the temperature of the local populace in Kilkenny.
It is well known that the government won’t place a Direct provision centre in Dublin 4 or in the wealthier parts of south County Dublin and Dun Laoghaire. So how can lefties and liberals both in government, media and lefty/liberal parties expect the people of rural Ireland to welcome such centres when they refused them in their own localities?
There were no ‘far right’ or even ‘right wing’ personalities involved in that successful Kilkenny campaign, unless you consider Phil Hogan or Mike O’Brien to be right wing. There was also a successful campaign against a Direct provision centre the Fianna Fail government wanted to build at Rosslare back then.
Just as there are no right wing parties involved in Oughterard either, despite the Times efforts to create a Hitlerian Munich in Connemara.
Fears in Oughterard existed before everybody, Right, Left and Centre, started tweeting. The far-right have not become involved. For instance Justin Barrett and his National Party have failed to become involved. So have Identity Ireland and Irexit., And despite efforts to try and drag her over to Oughterard from her campaign at Google in Dublin, Gemma O’Doherty has not been involved either in Oughterard. No neo-Nazis are involved as Hitler backed Islam as his ally in the Middle East in WW2, welcoming The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to a grand State Visit to Germany with an SS honour guard thrown in!
Since then, however, a few anti-immigration campaigners have attempted to steer the debate itself and exploit the resulting publicity. With some success, it must be said. It’s a democracy and people are fully entitled to voice their opposition to such centres- just as we did successfully here in Kilkenny back in 2000, and most recently to the mosque, successfully as well.
It has become a familiar pattern in rural towns. Local rumours of a centre spread quickly. A lack of information from the Government creates a vacuum. That vacuum is quickly filled by online traffic, that is not all of the far right, as the Times tries to make out. As I explain, not a single far right party has been involved.
“Videos and other content is quickly created, and shared widely – not just to influence the local debate, but the national one, too. It is difficult to gauge how successful these tactics are,” the Times accuses – why, do they want to silence everybody online?
Initially, some in Oughterard, including one of the main organisers, Patrick Curran appeared to welcome outside anti-immigration voices. Now they want to exclude them, fearing that they will be tarred by association.
One of the main agitators travelling to towns earmarked for direct provision or asylum housing is Gearóid Murphy, a Cork man, who has visited Oughterard, Lismore, Lisdoonvarna and Roosky.
Murphy , who is not involved in any right wing party, frequently promotes far-right talking points on social media, particularly a theory claiming the aim of western governments is to replace native populations with immigrants for economic or other reasons.
In a now-deleted tweet, Murphy describes his political views as “probably somewhere between libertarianism and national socialism with a touch of Christian ethos”. but he is not a member of any political party or grouping, and never has as far as we can make out.
In 2017 he posted a series of tweets expressing sympathy for white nationalists marching in Charlottesville in the US, the time they provoked riots by determining to blow up Robert E. Lee’s statue.
Following the march, the Times accuses that Murphy posted: “I can’t imagine how surreal and frankly terrifying it felt for WNs in Charlottesville. And while I obviously don’t condone the car attack…”” .
– We only have their word for that, we don’t know, except we do know that Murphy is not and never has been a member of any right wing party. The Times are really struggling to try and prove their far right allegations.
The opposite is fact. Oughterard took the far right in Ireland by total surprise! And they are not geared to react as far away as over on the Atlantic seaboard 20 miles west of Galway city.
The Times alleges that “a two-hour YouTube video from Murphy criticising the Government and the “asylum industry” was widely shared in Oughterard and praised by some as “a one-stop shop” for information about direct provision. The funny thing is that nobody on the right in Ireland seems to know this Murphy!
Such towns, he says, should “identify and marginalise” Government-connected moles, subverters and intimidators within their ranks “who are lurking among you”, the Times continues.
Advising locals to engage in Machiavellian thinking, he states: “They can have no part in this discussion about your community. And they certainly should not be representing you and speaking for you.”
Well, whether he said all that or not, it is the precise advice that a solicitor would give.
Public meetings are useful, too, to drum up support, especially if they are video-taped, and shared online. His advice, he says, was given in Rooskey, and it worked. Again, that’s only common sense. The Times seem to want to make a one-man Johnny Rambo out of this mysterious Murphy chap.
Patrick Curran, a businessman who helps lead the “Oughterard says No to inhumane direct provision centres” campaign initially praised the video which he called, in a Facebook post, “extremely factual and well put together”.
Murphy filmed the Oughterard meeting, capturing Independent TD Noel Grealish’s declaration that African asylum seekers are sponging “off the system here”.