29 February 2024

Ireland Is Burning

'Ireland is a crippled democracy where an authoritarian and unaccountable elite force their will on a disillusioned and disenfranchised electorate.'

From The European Conservative

By Eoin Lenihan, PhD

Ireland’s deeply dissatisfied electorate increasingly looks like a disenfranchised one as well.

As tensions mount over mass migration and a spate of brutal crimes by immigrants, Ireland is beginning to burn. Nationalist sentiments last seen in the twilight years of British colonial rule are reawakening, as a disenfranchised native population resorts to desperate measures to make their opposition to reckless migration policies heard. 

Irish state broadcaster RTE recently reported that, since 2018, 23 buildings linked to planned migrant centres have been badly or completely damaged by fire. Ten of these fires have occurred since November of 2023. After Ross Lake House Hotel in County Galway, which was due to house 70 asylum seekers, burned on 16 December 2023, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar stated, “There is no justification for violence, arson, or vandalism in our Republic. Ever.” Green Party member and Minister for Integration Roderick O’Gorman called the fire “deeply sinister” and “designed to intimidate people seeking international protection here in Ireland.”

Despite the condemnations, the burnings continue. If we accept the government’s position that these are deliberate acts of arson, then we are witnessing a grassroots movement by locals across the nation in resistance to migrant centres being opened in their tight-knit communities. The last example of such a movement was during the Irish War of Independence and the ensuing Civil War which ended British rule and established the Irish Free State. In the period from 1920-1923, 275 Anglo-Irish landlord houses were burned to the ground. The parallels are impossible to ignore. Now, like then, the native population is turning to methods reserved for a disenfranchised people against a hated ruling class. How did this happen?

From partnership to subservience

Since 1932, every government has been led by either Fianna Fáil (FF) or Fine Gael (FG). Arising out of the different sides of the Irish Civil War, both parties bitterly opposed one another based on their acceptance (FG) or rejection (FF) of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty that established the Irish Free State. The parties’ identities were so tied up in fighting Civil War differences that neither one fleshed out a coherent party platform. As a result, their policies have always largely echoed one another with differences reduced to hair-splitting. In 1950, FG’s then-leader, John A. Costello, is reported to have said there are “really no essential differences between the two [parties].” This observation was confirmed before the most recent 2020 General Election. The Journal published a comparison of the two parties’ manifestos which were identical in several places: planning exactly 2,600 new hospital beds nationwide, a 70% renewable energy target by 2030 and a promise to raise old age pensions by €5 a week each year to 2025, to name only a few. It confirmed what Irish people had long known—that the only difference between the two parties is the name. It was unsurprising when they formed a coalition government with the Green Party after both suffered historically low election returns due to voter apathy and the desire for an alternative in 2020.  

The decline of the two big parties can be traced back to the devastating collapse of the Celtic Tiger, Ireland’s economic boom that stretched from the late ’80s until Ireland’s humiliating bailout by the IMF, ECB and EU in 2010. From the late ’80s to 2008, Ireland’s economy grew quickly, based on strong native population growth, low wages, low taxation, a sustained building boom, massive U.S. investment, and EU structural subsidies. In this period, Ireland’s GDP growth outpaced the rest of Europe by degrees and was comparable only to eastern Asian developing nations. Ireland’s unemployment rate dropped from a staggering 15.9% in 1993 to 3.6% in 2001. Up to the turn of the millennium, Ireland was an organic economic miracle wherein development was sustained by a native population.  

The backbone of the later Celtic Tiger economy was a 12.5% corporate tax rate that was introduced in 2003. This substantially undercut the rest of the EU and led to an influx of overseas and largely U.S. multinationals including Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and Ebay among others. With this influx of companies came a reliance on mass immigration. Having reached 3.6% unemployment by 2001, Ireland looked abroad for bodies to support its growing economy. By 2007, a year before the global financial crisis, Ireland had the third highest migration rate in the EU with 14.5 migrants per 1000 residents. The transformation from peripheral developing nation to globalist EU partner was complete. Then came the collapse.

The 2010 bailout of the Irish banking system to the tune of €85 billion included the humiliating step of handing over the financial sovereignty of the nation to a team of financial regulators from the IMFECB, and EU. Fianna Fáil, who had guided Ireland through boom and bust, was hounded out of government by a public terrified of losing their jobs, homes, and futures. The issue, however, was that there was no meaningful political opposition. Chasing FF out of office simply meant swapping it for FG. As was to be expected, FG continued where FF had left off. The sacred 12.5% corporation tax rate became the engine house of the post-collapse recovery. By 2015, only three Irish companies made the top 10 list of companies operating in Ireland according to gross turnover; and, in total, there were 700 US companies operating in Ireland employing 130,000 people. No lessons were learned. With the renewed boom came a return to mass immigration. By 2022 almost one million—or one in five—people living in Ireland had not been born there. 

Tension about cultural displacement and the dilution of Irish identity due to mass immigration of legal workers was not the only issue. In addition, Ireland had long been a soft touch for economic migrants posing as refugees. In 2023, Ireland’s broad list of nations from which one could claim asylum included Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Serbia, and South Africa—nations which are considered safe by most other EU countries. It took the mass stabbing of three young school children and their teacher outside of a school in Dublin by an Algerian immigrant, and an ensuing riot in November 2023, for the government to add Algeria to its list of safe countries

Added to this rampant abuse of the refugee system, Ireland has taken in unsustainable numbers of Ukrainian refugees since the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian war in February 2022. By October 2023, Ireland paid the highest weekly benefits to Ukrainian refugees in the EU and was taking in ten times the EU average of Ukrainians. There are currently more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees living in Ireland. 

A crippled democracy

The lasting tragedy of the 2010 financial bailout and government collapse was that the parties emerging as an alternative to the FF/FG hegemony were chiefly left-wing or socialist: People Before Profit, an ‘eco-socialist’ party; the Progressive Democrats under Holly CairnsLabour, who went into coalition with FG in 2011; and current coalition partners, the Green Party. They all support mass immigration policies. 

The big beneficiary of 2010’s shifting political sands was socialist Sinn Fein (SF), the largest opposition party. Sinn Fein have, traditionally, been extremely in favour of mass migration. A 2001 policy document called for compulsory anti-racism classes in all schools, no upward limit on the number of refugees to be admitted, and full amnesty to be granted to all illegals. They also rejected the idea that immigrants should integrate into Irish society and called for more hate speech legislation. In 2015, a 10 point plan on the refugee crisis demanded a minimum of 4,500-5000 immigrants per year, stating: “We must not only do our fair share, but more than our fair share.” Current leader Mary Lou McDonald wants a pathway to employment for any Ukrainian refugee who wants to stay in Ireland, and her party—despite being the chief ‘opposition’ party—supported the government’s bid to bring in the most draconian hate speech laws of any Western nation in a move which has brought global attention. The bill is widely seen as an attempt to clamp down on criticism of the government’s handling of immigration. As Gript reported, rather than stand up for freedom of speech, SF submitted several amendments to the bill that would have strengthened its ability to prosecute Irish citizens for voicing concerns about mass migration. Importantly, SF have long supported the current globalist economic model and the 12.5% corporation tax which guarantees an unending flow of immigrants. 

In essence, there is no opposition in Ireland. No matter which party is in power, the result will be an open borders EU vassal state. It is a crippled democracy. The big three parties know this, and they act—as the Anglo-Irish landlords once did—without a thought for the concerns of the people. This disdain is the spark that has led to the current spate of burnings.

The Irish government has adopted a de facto non-consultation policy with local communities before showing up with busloads of migrants, often at night and with heavy police presence. Despite legitimate concerns raised by communities relating to the strain on local employment and servicescollapse in tourism income, radical demographic and cultural change, and fears of increased crime, the government has turned a deaf ear. When locals in the tiny village of Inch, Co. Clare protested the forced arrival of 30 immigrants, Prime Minister Varadkar spoke vaguely about the need to listen to the “genuine concerns” of locals before claiming that some protestors “hold racist views and we have to stand up to that.” Needless to say, the buses arrived. In January 2024, locals in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary protested that the only hotel in the town was being used to settle 160 immigrants. They were met with a large and heavy-handed police force who used violence against them. Shortly before the Roscrea debacle, Varadkar had made his position on forced settlement clear: “Nobody … has the right to veto who moves into their area or their community.” ‘Opposition’ Sinn Fein representative David Cullinane used the exact same words speaking about the Inch incident half a year before. 

One would imagine then that the strident position of the government has the widespread backing of the public, but the opposite is true. A May 2023 poll by the trusted Red C group found that 75% of people thought that Ireland was taking too many refugees. The same poll found that 76% of people appreciated the anger of local communities forced to take refugees. Supporters of FF (74%) and FG (70%) believed their own parties had taken in too many refugees. The government ploughed on regardless. Most recently, in February 2024, an Irish Times poll found that only 16% wanted a more open policy on immigration in general. Voters for all three major parties—FF, FG, and SF—overwhelmingly voted for a more closed system with SF voters (72%) being those most in favour. 

In Ireland, where the vast majority of people want less immigration and do not want refugees forcibly settled into their communities, all political options are closed to them. Their elected officials act in direct defiance of their will and the opposition would do the same should they get in. There is no way to vote out of this mess.

Ireland is a crippled democracy where an authoritarian and unaccountable elite force their will on a disillusioned and disenfranchised electorate. Is it any wonder that the big houses are burning once again?

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