Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Dublin: Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) Ireland Clash with Anti-Lockdown Far-Right.

with 6 comments

Anti-Fascists, Republicans and Socialists confront National Party in Dublin.

Hundreds clash in violent exchanges at Dublin protest

Protest by anti-mask, anti-lockdown groups, including right-wing National Party took place outside Leinster House

A protest by anti-mask and anti-lockdown groups, including the right-wing National Party, was organised to take place outside Leinster House at 1pm on Saturday. However, scuffles quickly broke out when the demonstration was met with a group of counter-protestors.

Gardaí confirmed an investigation focused on the organisers of both protests is now under way, while two men, one in his 30s and second in his 40s, were arrested for public order offences.


The group of at least 100 counter-protestors, which appeared highly coordinated but made up of disparate groups, met opposite the Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephens’s Green at 12.45pm.

The group, all of whom were masked and mostly dressed in black, marched down Dawson St and turned right onto Molesworth St before moving towards Leinster House chanting “Nazi scum, off our streets”.

The group was flanked by uniformed gardaí on bicycles, while several Garda vans from the force’s public order unit remained on standby in the vicinity. Plain clothes members of the Garda also mingled among the crowds.

Statement by AFA. Ireland.

On Saturday 10th October 2020, Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) Ireland and its allies confronted a rally organised by the fascist National Party (NP) outside Leinster House, Dublin. Over 150 militant anti-fascists challenged a meagre group of NP supporters who were protected by a wall of steel barricades, lines of Gardaí and the Public Order Unit who had their batons drawn. The NP event was a failed attempt to use current Covid-19 restrictions as a rallying point to attract unsuspecting members of the public who may hold genuine grievances with the lockdown.

The Albert Meltzer quote “there’s no such thing as a fascist march – only a police march” was proven again today as the massive Garda operation was required to ensure the larger anti-fascist mobilisation was kept away from the underwhelming fascist presence.
It continues,

Despite several weeks of publicising the demonstration on social media, the demo received zero traction beyond the NP’s core members and supporters. Disingenuously the group didn’t even have the courage to put their own name on the event poster which was widely shared by all main NP organisers.

Amongst the speakers today was mini-führer Justin Barrett and former British army soldier ‘Tan Torino’ (Rowan Croft) who served with the Royal Engineers in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Hardly what could be described as Irish patriots! A nervous Torino was spotted leaving the vicinity immediately after his rant and did not even stay around for Justin Barret’s rambling long speech.

The fascists may have been emboldened by their recent attacks on individuals but cowered behind a sea of cops until they were led away for their own safety. The sight of them being escorted away was a pathetic sight. They have recently boasted about ‘controlling’ the streets of Dublin but seemed genuinely shocked and scared by the sight of hundreds of working-class anti-fascists in Dublin today. Our numbers proudly marched afterwards through the city from Leinster House to the GPO carrying Irish tricolours, starry ploughs, sunbursts and rainbow/lgbt+ flags. Passersby stopped and clapped on hearing the chant “Fascist scum, off our streets!” This was the second Saturday in a row in which the so-called hardmen of the far-right were shown up as mouthy cowards.

The National Party have strongly opposed the use of masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during this global pandemic. Their supporters are undeterred by restrictions. Today we saw the full support that these pricks can muster whereas we know that huge numbers of our supporters did not take to the streets today out of concern for the most vulnerable in society. Those of us out today did so out of a sense of necessity and true patriotism to protect our country from their dangerous and toxic ideologies.

The National Party, founded in 2016, is an ethno-nationalist far-right group. Its leader, veteran fundamentalist Catholic Justin Barrett, called for doctors who perform abortions to be executed. He has had long-standing ties with European fascists and spoke at several neo-Nazi rallies in Germany and Italy in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he was a leading member of the extreme anti-abortion group Youth Defence. He has remained unapologetic about sharing platforms with former SS officers.

AFA Ireland is a militant anti-fascist organisation formed in 1991. We believe in physically and ideologically confronting fascism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. As always, we encourage all anti-fascist minded people across the island to reach out to us and work together in a militant, disciplined movement against fascism. Profound thanks again to all our members and supporters in the republican, socialist, grassroots, LGBTQ+ and trade union movements.

Beir Bua. La Lucha Continúa. No pasarán.
AFA Ireland, 10 October 2020


There is a background to this:

Socialist Democracy:

Fascism: Ireland’s illusion of immunity begins to pall

18 September 2020

In reality Ireland is a society riddled with misogyny, class hatred,  sectarianism and anti traveller discrimination that easily adapts to racism.  In the North an entire political system is built around competing sectarian rights and housing apartheid.

The old governmental system in Dublin, revolving around two largely identical right wing parties, is in decay.  An opening has occurred and fascists have begun to mobilise.

They are still weak and disguise themselves in yellow vest and anti mask protests, but they are strengthened by their willingness to use violence and by winks and nods from the police.

Two guiding principles should lead us.  Firstly we must not privatise opposition,  with each left and republican group organising independently,  shouting “trash the fash” without having built the means to follow through on our promise.  There has to be an all Ireland anti-fascist  movement.  Secondly, socialists in such a movement must argue for a radical alternative.  Fascism grows whenever the workers movement fails.  At the moment the trade union leaders have buried themselves in partnership with the government and many socialists are advancing the fatuous plan of a “left” government led by Sinn Fein.

When working people are desperate and the left are silent we are leaving the door open for the far right.  Time to unite for a revolutionary alternative!

People are beginning to ask why there have been no counter-protests against the ‘anti-mask’ confusionist and  far right demos in Britain.



6 Responses

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  1. I always worry about the potential appeal of the far right in the Irish Republic. Although, today, a modern pluralist Western European democracy, the old roots of native fascism allied to ‘culturalist’ currants and to right wing Catholic social teaching always lurk below the surface. Most readers will know the pre-war Blueshirt movement, who as well as acting as the militia for a number of loose political currants that came together to form today’s Fine Gael, provided the foot soldiers that fought for Franco in the civil war. Less well known is Ailtirí na hAiséirghe (“Architects of the Resurrection”) who bridged the period between the demise of the Blueshirts and today’s Irish far right.. More on them here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailtirí_na_hAiséirghe

    david walsh

    October 11, 2020 at 12:02 pm

  2. You ask why Ireland is different, in that there have been counter-protests. The explanation is that this appearance of fascism is new and not well disguised. Raising the banner of nationalism in Ireland has lots more competitors. All the major parties openly declare themselves as nationalist and the most extreme are republicans who have usually looked to the left. The fascists have identified an issue – the response to Covid – that they can seek to exploit because the consensus response is failing. The left supports this response but will increasingly face the fact that to continuing to do so will mean trailing behind repressive measures that will grow in unpopularity. In this respect the situation in Ireland is the same as Britain.


    October 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    • On the issue of Irish nationalism, well it’s touchy subject for an Englishman (whose dad was Scots) to talk about, even one (like a hell of a lot of English people) with some Irish forebears but I always remember the passages in Joyce’s Ulysses that begin “under the auspices of Sluagh na h-Eireann” on “our ancient panceltic forefathers”…… Joyce is not kind about Irish nationalism, “Island of saints and sages”, and that’s even before the section involving Bloom himself…

      Nick Griffin thinks that this anti-lockdown movement is the start of ‘English Resistance’. Tommy Robinson has also got his oar in. People who can listen to the anti ‘New World Order’ gobshite of Icke and Corbyn can be part of this confusionist movement in which the far-right can swim in.

      This is coming, soon:

      Andrew Coates

      October 11, 2020 at 4:16 pm

  3. One area where I can see the anti-vaxxers and the far right combining to exploit in Ireland is the issue (insomuch as it is an issue to me) of the use of aborted foetuses by pharmaceutical companies in the development of new vaccines – and given the covid race in, – almost certainly in that area of trialling. In reality, the “aborted foetuses’ are not all that dramatic, as the Wellcome Foundation explains, “Several common vaccines are made by growing the necessary viruses in foetal embryo fibroblast cells. These cells originally came from tissue obtained from two foetuses that were legally and electively aborted in the early 1960s. The same cells have continued to grow in a laboratory and are still used to make vaccines today.” Nonetheless, in a country still recovering from a divisive campaign on abortion rights, meat and drink to the new forces of darkness who can see the linkage to traditional Catholic thought. This isn’t helped by the fact that the Vatican have been sitting on a splintery fence on this issue. The Pontifical Academy for Life, carrying out the commission entrusted to them by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith state “There is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems; As regards the vaccines without an alternative, the need to contest so that others may be prepared must be reaffirmed, as should be the lawfulness of using the former in the meantime insomuch as is necessary in order to avoid a serious risk not only for one’s own children but also, and perhaps more specifically, for the health conditions of the population as a whole – especially for pregnant women.” Has this been picked up by the fascists in the Republic yet ? I fear it will.

    david walsh

    October 11, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    • Yes that is an issue.

      Sráid Marx/Irish Marxism (above) has raised the issue of the basis of arguments about fighting Covid and who we can rely on in a disputed scientific area, as well as the state coercion in imposing new lockdowns, as well as ‘who’ is in charge of doing this.


      and the money being spent on schemes (for example, now on renewed cut-down furlough in the UK) ” Once this is understood, as it is supposed to be by Marxists, it is abundantly clear that paying people money for closing the place that they work in, or the business that they own, will not create any additional resources but will create an enormous financial bill that will have to be repaid.”


      The fact is that the core of the anti-lockdown movement opposes any measures against the pandemic, not just that they are confusionists who mix far right ideas into their stunts, and offer an opportunity not just for that far right to grow, but to create potential threats to people’s health.

      The second point is something just about nobody is facing up to, and is, as he says, something the left, mainstream to far left, has not faced up to,

      Andrew Coates

      October 11, 2020 at 6:15 pm

  4. Women in Ireland are finally freed from the Reagan-ERA girl bullying Amendment 8. Canadians and Irishmen–and Englanders–have won a victory for individual rights that make all the squabbles of national and international socialists pale by comparison. –Envious yank Libertariantranslator


    October 12, 2020 at 11:50 pm

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