Far-Right Hate and Extremist Groups
Since 2016 Ireland’s far-right extremist scene has consisted largely of the white nationalist National Party as well as anti-LGBTQI organizations whose roots lie in social conservatism, something that is not surprising given Ireland’s deep Catholic roots.
Since the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 and the expansion of access to abortion in recent years, the far-right scene has found foothold and is growing, with a new reactionary political party, the Irish Freedom Party established in 2018 as well as a handful of smaller groups that target immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community.
Many of these groups have adopted the white supremacist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, which argues that white populations are being intentionally displaced from their homelands, a plot often blamed on Jews or globalists. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, other movements have arisen, harnessing anxiety during the pandemic and opposing public health measures, pursuing anti-lockdown protests, and spreading COVID-related conspiracy theories. Some organizations are also harnessing legitimate frustration over the housing shortage in parts of Ireland to stoke racist anti-immigrant rage.
Interestingly, many of these groups object to fluoridation of water and spread conspiracies about the issue, similar to conspiracies about fluoride that have animated the American far-right since WWII. Many of Ireland’s far-right groups are influenced by American far-right extremists, as they have imported conspiracy theories about “cultural Marxism” and “Agenda 21” that originated in the U.S. To date none of these groups have had any real electoral success, but are active in attempts to stir up hatred and fear in communities.
In 2022, we are seeing a mixture of small far-right organizations and other extreme far-right influencers competing for the attention of potential converts. We see alliances between these actors rise and fall around specific flashpoint events, and the relative power and relevance often wax and wane.
Note: Groups described here must have their headquarters in the Republic of Ireland. Groups headquartered in Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom, are not included. If a group in the Republic has chapters in Northern Ireland, they are listed here and indicated by (NI). Social media accounts and websites are not listed here so as not to give them publicity. Full lists of that information are available to researchers and reporters upon request.
Learn more about GPAHE’s reports on global hate and far-right extremist groups.
Ireland Group Descriptions
Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Conspiracy
Anti-Corruption Ireland (ACI) is an unregistered political party associated with candidates who ran in the 2020 elections and gained tiny vote shares. The party’s slogan is, “It’s time to take our country back,” and ACI’s principals have pushed white nationalist, anti-immigrant messages including the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. The party is led by self-identified reporter Gemma O’Doherty. O’Doherty’s views are so extreme – she’s rabidly anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQI+, and a conspiracy monger – that she has been banned from most mainstream social media, including having been taken off YouTube for “hate speech.”
She once argued that the 2019 Christchurch, N.Z., mosque shootings were a “false flag” operation rather than the act of a violent white supremacist. Another ACI principal and one-time candidate, John Waters, said during a party meeting in January 2020 that “many of the ethnicities that are coming here” have “fertility rates that are two or three times the Irish rate.” He then claimed the “Great Replacement” was happening in Ireland. The party calls for an end to “uncontrolled immigration” and takes up other far-right agendas and conspiracy theories. On its website, ACI promises to “fight against the threat of globalism and Agenda 21,” a voluntary UN effort to improve sustainability.
Starting over a decade ago, American far-right movements have pushed the idea that Agenda 21 is actually a stealth global conspiracy to take over various countries and impose a socialist agenda. ACI falsely claims Agenda 21 “is dismantling our national sovereignty, cultural and natural heritage and endangering our independence.” ACI wants to ban the Open Society Foundations, long a far-right bogeyman for its funding of progressive causes, end the fluoridation of water, and remove “cultural Marxism” from schools.
The use of the term cultural Marxism indicates ACI is well attuned to American white nationalist conspiracy theories, where raging against cultural Marxism, a far-right, often antisemitic “theory” that claims academics and intellectuals are poisoning and subverting Western culture, is commonplace. In April 2020, Waters and O’Doherty launched a legal action against Ireland’s pandemic restrictions, seeking to have parts of the legislation declared null and void. During a court hearing, O’Doherty argued that nearly all people were unaffected by COVID, and that people should be allowed to go outside and “build up a herd immunity.” The case was ultimately dismissed.
House The Irish First
Originally called “House the Irish Fairly” when it launched on Facebook in January 2020, within days the group changed its name to “House the Irish First” (HTIF). Spurred by a critical housing shortage in Ireland, in particular Dublin, HTIF seems to have held its first protest in January 2020, when a group of around 50 members picketed a building site in West Dublin. The group claimed that the building had been earmarked for foreign nationals rather than local Irish people, and they wanted half the housing to go to Irish nationals. Leadership of the group is a bit unclear, but Alice Woods was quoted at a protest and is one of the administrators of the Facebook group.
Another Facebook administrator is Sharon O’Brien. From its start, there were concerns expressed about the anti-immigrant nature of the group. Activists and “other residents” at one building protest site complained about the “anti-immigrant tone” of the protest, the group’s Facebook page, and about alleged far-right activists who supported the protest. The group’s activities since the pandemic lockdown began have largely focused on its social media, in particular a Facebook page with almost 9,000 followers.
The discussions on the page are mostly geared toward complaining about immigrants taking Irish housing and jobs – not dissimilar to what far-right extremists are saying in other areas in the world. The group’s administrators and moderators on Facebook keep a low profile, but other group members are blatant in their anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment. Comments on the page speak of how foreign nationals/refugees/immigrants are taking jobs, money, and housing from Irish people and that the government has forsaken Irish-born people.
Many of the posts are racist, depicting immigrants, and especially Muslim refugees, as criminals or terrorists, and hint at the idea that a “Great Replacement” of the Irish by migrants is purposefully happening. For example, one poster calls migrants “gimmegrants” and says “our country is being devoured & destroyed…by the let-em-all-in woke brigade.” Another recent post says, “Ireland is being deliberately slowly Emasculated…They all endorse the Great Replacement strategy.” Others post “Irish Lives Matter.”
Location: Belfast (NI), Dublin
The Iona Institute is the more common name used for Lolek, Ltd., a private company established in 2006. Iona refers to the Iona Abbey, a Scottish church based on the isle of Iona, a center of Celtic mythology. David Quinn has led Iona since its founding. He is a former editor of the traditionalist Irish Catholic weekly newspaper and former religious affairs correspondent for the conservative Irish Independent daily newspaper. Quinn has written extensively against “aggressive secularism,” claiming that Christian influence on the state is seen as “illegitimate and somehow undemocratic” while at the same time feminists and socialists don’t “have to operate under similar handicaps.”
The institute is deeply embedded in the anti-LGBTQ+ movement in Europe and is adamantly against same-sex marriage and civil unions. Iona’s representatives have appeared at Agenda Europe summits, a group which has argued that Islam is an inherently violent religion, that feminism is in fact Marxism, and that declining birth rates are threatening Europe, alongside a number of well-known anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion rights campaigners and groups. In 2014, at the Munich Agenda Europe summit, Quinn moderated a discussion on the topic of marriage and “how do we need to defend it in public.” Other speakers came from well-known anti-LGBTQI+ groups, including Brian Brown, who heads the US-based World Congress of Families and is a board member of the similarly anti-LGBTQ+ CitizenGo. Another speaker was Dr. Željka Markić, leader of the Croatian anti-LGBTQ+ and conservative group U ime obitelji. The 2015 Agenda Europe event was held in Dublin, and Quinn participated, though no information is available on his activities. Iona has criticized pro-LGBTQ+ teaching in schools and pushed discriminatory ideas under the guise of religious freedom, notions originally constructed by American social conservative groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, which it praises on its website. They are generally skeptical of hate crime laws. Iona argues crime is rising, family breakdown increasing, and other social problems are caused by fewer opposite-sex marriages and a fall in organized religion. Its principals have also questioned climate change. In 2020, Twitter banned proposed ads by Iona about its work. Facebook had done the same earlier for content related to abortion.
In 2021, the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights published a report that claimed that Iona had received substantial funding from Russia to pursue an anti-gender/anti-trans rights agenda. The Fondazione Novae Terrae was identified as the immediate donor to the Iona Institute, after it had in turn benefited from €2.39 million from a Russian-Azerbaijani “laundromat” designed to channel funds to like-minded campaign groups. Iona patrons include the psychiatrist Patricia Casey, columnist Breda O’Brien, Roman Catholic priest and theologian Vincent Twomey, and Anglican bishop the Rt. Rev. Ken Clarke.
Irish Council For Human Rights
Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Conspiracy
The Irish Council for Human Rights (ICHR) was launched in 2020 by two former members of the far-right Renua party, siblings Tracey and Neil O’Mahony. ICHR focuses largely on anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine arguments on its website, spreads disinformation about COVID that has led to its YouTube videos being labeled as such, and it advocates against hate crime laws. Their biggest effort is a crowd-sourced case against Irish pandemic measures. Ms. O’Mahony, who is a barrister, has become a key actor among anti-lockdown activists, joined American far-right attacks against Disney, posted anti-transgender material on Twitter, and is against Ukrainian refugees in Ireland.
Mr. O’Mahony, a former member of the Irish Defence Forces, made headlines when he claimed that young children would be taught about masturbation if sex education was updated in Irish schools. He has questioned the legitimacy of the pandemic and the lockdowns, writing on Twitter that encouraging the wearing of masks is “about control and compliance” and “not reducing infection.” Other ICHR principals have also pushed extremist ideas. For example, Dr. Fiona Flanagan, on the board of advisors, has argued there is “absolutely no robust scientific evidence” that lockdown measures affect the spread of COVID.
Flanagan has suggested that illnesses caused by electromagnetic interference could instead be mistaken for COVID symptoms. She has also called migration into Ireland “an effective modern plantation of the country.” This is an Irish version of the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. The group’s events have been attended by racists and other far-right extremists, including Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters.
Irish Freedom Party
Location: County Clare, County Cork, Drogheda, Dublin City & County, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford
Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Conspiracy
Launched in 2019 to great fanfare among far-right activists including white supremacists associated with the Generation Identity movement, the Irish Freedom Party (IFP) has advanced seemingly every issue the far-right espouses and has deep links with other Irish extremist organizations and individuals. Perhaps best known for wanting to remove Ireland from the EU, or #Irexit, IFP is also against transgender rights, LGB rights, immigrant rights, lockdowns, vaccines, hate speech laws, big tech community standards, and accepting refugees. They are particularly against immigration, and leaders have pushed the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. IFP organized a rally on 4chan to protest Ireland’s acceptance of the UN Migration Pact in December 2018.
In October 2019, it was reported that leaders of the IFP organized a protest in which 2,000 people marched in Oughterard, Galway, against the founding of a refugee center. A good example of their extremism is a March 27, 2022 Facebook post reading, “Patriots who love freedom in Ireland must reject the Authoritarian Globalism of Soros, Schwab, Gates, Zuckerberg, the LGBTIQ-mob and the EU. Instead we should embrace love of our land, our culture, our Christian faith, family and future for the nation and nation state outside the EU.”
IFP did not run any candidates in 2019, having failed to register as a party. But during the pandemic, it gained exposure to a wider audience owing to its alignment with the anti-lockdown Yellow Vests Ireland movement. IFP’s president, Hermann Kelly, is the former press secretary for Nigel Farage, a British far-right leader in the Brexit movement. Kelly has links to loyalist and far-right personalities and parties in the UK. In 2019, he appeared in a video interview with the fascist Britain First founder Jim Dowson.
Although he has since left Britain First, Dowson, a former Orange Order member and a close confidant of Nick Griffin, long a principal in the racist British National Party, remains a key figure on the far-right in Britain and Ireland. Kelly has previously described the far-right group Síol na hEireann (Seed of Ireland) and its Donegal-based leader, Niall McConnell, as his “good friend” and praised him for delivering a speech outside the offices of The Journal last September, where he railed against the “fake news Irish media” for “pumping anti-Irish Marxist, communist rhetoric” and “LGBT propaganda.”
In 2019, Kelly tweeted that “those talking about a Great Replacement in Ireland have a point,” and in an interview with the American hard-right LifeSiteNews, referred to what he called the “great replacement of our children.” Kelly later tweeted that he believes in “one human race” and has not supported “theories of racial superiority.” Kelly and another IFP principal, Michael Leahy, were interviewed and featured in a St Patrick’s Day special video by the American hate site, Church Militant. Kelly has been described as “waging a war” against mandatory vaccinations and vaccination certificates. Until March 2021, IFP’s chairwoman was Dolores Cahill, a prominent anti-vaxxer.
In late 2019, IFP, along with Renua Ireland and Yellow Vest Ireland held two “free speech rallies” in Dublin protesting proposed legislation to update laws regarding hate speech. Further protests against Irish lockdown restrictions were organized from summer 2020 into 2021. In July 2020, IFP, along with Renua Ireland and the National Party, organized and participated in a protest against the appointment of Roderic O’Gorman as Children’s Minister. The rally was condemned by many as homophobic, and because nooses were displayed on National Party banners and placards.
The IFP have regularly promoted the anti-semitic ‘Cultural Marxism’ conspiracy theory, with speeches by Ben Scallan. Scallan, a former IFP candidate has since left the IFP and works for anti-abortion propaganda media project Gript Media. Hermann Kelly has previously been editor of the right-wing newspaper The Irish Catholic.
The Irish LGB Alliance (LGBA) was founded in 2020 and is an offshoot of the UK LGB Alliance, run by Bev Jackson, Kate Harris, Allison Bailey, Malcolm Clark, and Ann Sinnott. LGBA describes its objective as “asserting the right of lesbians, bisexuals and gay men to define themselves as same-sex attracted,” and states that such a right is threatened by “attempts to introduce confusion between biological sex and the notion of gender.” Jackson has said that lesbians are in danger of extinction due to a disproportionate focus on trans issues in schools, saying, “At school, in university, it is so uncommon, it is the bottom of the heap. Becoming trans is now considered the brave option.”
In August 2021, the UK Charity Commission announced that it would be engaging with the LGB Alliance trustees after the Alliance posted a Tweet stating that “adding the + to LGB gives the green light to paraphilias like bestiality – and more – to all be part of one big happy ‘rainbow family,’” a post which was removed by Twitter for violating the platform’s rules. In November 2021, British MP John Nicolson said that the speaker of the House of Commons had referred “abuse and obsessive behavior” from the Alliance to security.
The Alliance had run a fundraising campaign for itself saying, “make a donation to us IN HIS [Nicholson’s] NAME and we will tweet out your message,” subsequently tweeting a number of statements attacking Nicolson, including ones that called him a “rape-enabling politician.” The fundraiser was removed from the JustGiving and GoFundMe crowdfunding platforms for violating their rules. In general, LGBA opposes gender-identity education in schools, medical transition for children reporting gender dysphoria, and gender recognition reform.
The group was described by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights as transphobic in a statement signed by a number of Labour members of parliament. This group was key to the decision by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to exempt the trans community from the UK’s recent legislation to ban conversion therapy, something LGBA vocally opposes. Irish LGBTQ+ activists contend that its membership is mostly UK-based, though the Irish chapter insists “all our committee members are living in Ireland.”
In 2022, the group publicly protested in Ireland gender-neutral bathroom policies. In November 2020, LGB Alliance Ireland faced criticism after calling for schools to ignore the LGBTQ+ youth organization BeLonGTo’s Stand Up Awareness Week, a group generally against anti-bullying educational materials.
Location: Antrim (NI), Armagh (NI), Belfast (NI), Carlow, Cavan,Clare, Cork, Derry (NI), Donegal, Down, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow
Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, White Nationalist
Founded in 2016, the National Party (NP) is the largest far-right political party in Ireland. It was co-founded by Justin Barrett, who serves as president, and James Reynolds, who is vice president, and its slogan is “Ireland Belongs to the Irish.” Barrett has an extremely long history in extremist politics. He got his start in the anti-abortion group, Family Solidarity, and later was active with the militant anti-abortion, Youth Defence, from roughly 1992 until 2004, which reportedly physically attacked women’s rights activists and had links with the fascist International Third Position organization. Barrett was arrested and fined (he was 28) as a result of a mini-riot Youth Defence members were involved in at a hospital in Dublin in 1999.
An early influence on Barrett’s ideology was American Christian Right activist Ralph Reed, who apparently told Barrett in a private 1994 meeting that demonstrations and rallies were all well and good, but it was the ability to affect public opinion and results at the ballot box that persuaded people to adopt an agenda. Barrett wrote The National Way Forward in the 1990s and was planning to reissue it around the turn of the millennia, but in 2002 decided not to due to its inflammatory nature. The book called for strict adherence to Catholic doctrine, the creation of a “Catholic Republic,” a total ban on abortion, and restrictions on immigration.
It also linked pedophilia to homosexuality, and decried sex outside marriage. Eventually Barrett engaged with Euroscepticism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and associated with neo-Nazi groups, specifically around 2002 when he was active against Irish affirmation of the EU Treaty of Nice. He also went to meetings in Italy held by the neo-fascist Forza Nuova and in Germany by the National Democratic Party (NPD), widely regarded as antisemitic, racist, and neo-Nazi. At the time, Barrett claimed he didn’t know the nature of these organizations.
In 2016, Barrett said that Ireland should ban Muslims from Ireland. Barrett ran as an independent candidate for the European Parliament in 2004; his campaign focused on abortion, immigration, and Euroscepticism and incorporated nationalist rhetoric like “putting Ireland first.” Absent from politics for some time after the election, Barrett re-emerged with the launch of the National Party.
A farmer in Longford, James Reynolds, is the party’s vice president. In the early 2000s, he served as chairman of the Longford branch of the Irish Farmers’ Association (1999-2003). He was elected as treasurer of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association in 2016 but was removed from his position after a vote of no confidence prompted by his National Party activism.
Reynolds appears to have a contentious history in these groups. In 2009, he and other Irish Farmers Association members formed “Farmers for No” to oppose the second Lisbon Treaty referendum, which they claimed would “fast-track Turkey’s application to join the EU,” doubling the number of farmers, and causing the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy payments to collapse. In 2019, Reynolds appeared in a livestream with Irish anti-immigrant activist and conspiracy theorist Gemma O’Doherty. Reynolds defended O’Doherty when she was suspended from YouTube for hate speech.
The National Party’s platform is anti-abortion, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ+, Eurosceptic, and oddly for a Catholic party, pro-death penalty. The NP has a robust social media presence, with a large chapter presence on Facebook, and a highly active, online and offline, Youth Wing, Oige Naisiunach. Its April 2022 posts on Twitter were focused on anti-immigrant messaging, a call for neutrality in the Ukraine conflict, and “House the Irish.”
Since an electoral washout in 2021, many longstanding members of the NP left the organization and openly criticized Barrett’s leadership style. Barrett reacted online with a video, criticizing his opponents. Recently the party has done little but recruit students with little to no political experience.
Official Proud Boys Ireland
Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Woman
This is the official branch of the American-based Proud Boys (PB), a white nationalist and misogynistic group founded by Canadian Gavin McInnes in 2016. Canada banned the group in 2021 after several of its members were found to be involved in the American January 6 Capitol insurrection. The PB, who have chapters in other European countries, claim to be a “Western chauvinist” group, but their ideology ranges from white nationalist, to racist, to anti-LGBTQ+, to anti-Muslim and anti-woman. Their events have often featured racial extremists from other hate groups. The Proud Boys stage frequent rallies in the U.S. that often descend into violent street riots where members openly brawl with counter protesters.
Indeed, as early as summer 2018, a document circulated by Washington state law enforcement described the group’s involvement in a series of violent incidents in Oregon and Washington, as well as its involvement in the violent white riots that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. This report came to light a mere two months before 10 members were charged with assault after an attack on antifascist activists in New York City in October 2018. Many members have been incarcerated over the years for various forms of violence, and some of its leadership, including PB head Enrique Tarrio, are charged with conspiracy over their involvement in the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
Launched in Ireland in 2018, Proud Boys Ireland (PBI) exists primarily as an online network on Telegram, but members have engaged in real world activity such as posting their stickers and experts estimate less than 10 active members. As of April 2022, the channel had nearly 1,400 subscribers and was filled with typical Proud Boy materials, featuring anti-immigrant, racist, and anti-woman materials.
Rise Up Éireann / Rise Up Ireland
Location: County Kerry, Dublin, Galway
Evolving out of the New Age and holistic health movements, Rise Up Éireann (RUE) came to prominence in February 2021 when they held an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin that descended into chaos. RUE is a font of conspiracy mongering, largely about the COVID pandemic. On Telegram, they describe themselves as “Freedom from the fake virus hoax. COVID only exists on TV, & in The jab, which is a bio weapon, to implement the New World Order, depopulation agenda. RiseUp & stand in Truth & Love. God save Ireland.”
The February 2021 event, which was to feature speakers and acts, including poets and musicians, fell apart when authorities closed the park where it was to be held. Around 500 protesters gathered in the surrounding area where the protest turned violent with fireworks shot at police on Grafton Street, injuring three officers. More than 20 people were later arrested. RUE subsequently lost their Facebook account, the company citing “posts calling for violence or coordinating harm” and COVID conspiracy content.
RUE claims to have no leadership, but reports indicate it was launched by Barbara Barrett, a holistic health practitioner who uses “Shakti Ji” online. The group has spread conspiracies including QAnon and the Great Reset, which claims a global elite is using the coronavirus pandemic to dismantle capitalism, enforce radical social change, and establish a one-world government, a bogeyman since 2020 of American antigovernment movements and Donald Trump supporters.
RUE events have featured other far-right extremists, including members of the Irish Yellow Vests and National Party figures. In July 2021, Graham Carey of the Irish Yellow Vests, who has called for people to “wipe the Jews out” for their involvement in the pandemic, spoke at an RUE event.
Síol na hEireann / Seed of Ireland
Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+
Seed of Ireland (SOI) is a white nationalist group that is deeply connected to extreme right Catholic groups and carries the slogan “Ireland for the Irish.” SOI disparages immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community on its website, and is particularly anti-Muslim, holding rallies against the “Islamisation of Ireland.” They have a print publication, The Irish Patriot, a massive online store that uses ApplePay as well as other credit card services. In July 2020, they held a protest outside of a football stadium where Muslims were allowed to worship. In August 2020, they protested at a church that allowed a Muslim prayer service. SOI is run by Castlefinn sheep farmer Niall McConnell, who describes the group as pro-life Christian nationalists. Though McConnell has run for office, SOI is not a political party, but rather a private, for-profit company with McConnell as its director.
At the August 2020 protest, McConnell accused the priest of allowing “satanists, cultists” into the church. During a 2020 meeting in the EU Parliament, McConnell said that a “Zionist elite” are importing “jihadi Islamists” into Europe. McConnell said this is part of a war on nationalists such as himself and considers it a “holy crusade.” The group was involved in anti-lockdown protests, and in 2020, protested TheJournal.ie, saying it pushed “anti-Irish, Marxist, communist” and “LGBT propaganda.” In January 2022, SOI hosted an online petition to deport the non-Irish national alleged murderer of an Offaly teacher.
McConnell has ties to Nick Griffin of the racist British National Party and Britain First founder Jim Dowson, a British loyalist and Christian fundamentalist with a history of providing support to paramilitary organizations allegedly involved in hunting migrants in eastern Europe. In many ways, SOI is simply a project of Dowson’s network, as Dowson hosts its streams, merchandise and websites. Griffin and Dowson have appeared on livestreams with McConnell, and other regular guests include nuns from the SSPX Resistance in Cork. Dowson has shared that group’s materials. The SOI website is almost identical to sites that belong to Dowson, such as that of the British Freedom Movement and Knights Templar International, all selling variations of the same merchandise.
Society of St. Pius X Resistance
Ideology: Conspiracy, Antisemitic
The Society of St. Pius X Resistance, or SSPX Resistance, is a loosely organized group of Traditionalist Catholics that left the Society of St. Pius X as it became clear that the group was going to reconcile with the Vatican and accede to certain aspects of the liturgy SSPX Resistance rejected. SSPX Resistance, with chapters in many countries, has continued to celebrate the traditional Latin Tridentine Mass, though independent of the Catholic Church and the Society of St. Pius X. They see themselves as holding true to the founding principles of the now deceased SSPX founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and opposing moves towards liberalism and modernism. In Ireland, SSPX Resistance is headed by Fr. Giacomao Ballini, but the real power behind the group is Bishop Richard Williamson, a well-known antisemite and convicted Holocaust denier who was thrown out of SSPX.
In March 2020, Williamson gave a mass at the group’s Cork County farmhouse, purchased in 2016, where he linked Jewish people to COVID and called them “master servants of the devil.’’ He also claimed, among other things, that Jewish people are manipulating the stock market in an effort to start a war. The full extent of Williamson’s antisemitism and racism can be seen in this sermon: “It is the white male who ought to be leading the human race to God, and who aren’t doing so. And they have turned liberals. They have turned to looking after their own interests and no longer God’s interests. And therefore the Blacks turn on the Whites, the Jews turn on the Gentiles, though that’s not a new thing actually. They’ve always been doing that since Jesus Christ. And the women turn on the men. Because the men are not fulfilling God’s mission for them which is to lead. The Whites are not fulfilling God’s mission which is to lead the others, including leading Jews to God.”
SSPX Resistance is close to Niall McConnell of Siol na hEireann (Seed of Ireland). McConnell hosts livestreams, and regular guests include Carmelite nuns from SSPX Resistance. A GiveSendGo hack revealed that these broadcasts led to donations to the nuns from Americans. SSPX Resistance has also protested pandemic measures, with Ballini leading a procession through Dublin to perform an exorcism of the Dáil, in an apparent breach of COVID regulations. In early 2021, it was observed that a New Zealand based neo-Nazi was planning to join the sects compound in County Cork. SPPX Resistance has been financially supported by a registered charity Society of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary, whose trustee Harry Rea refused to condemn the antisemitism according to news reports. Harry Rea is a former candidate for the Christian Solidarity Party. The same reports presented evidence that the SSPX Resistance social media profiles were being run by Matthew Bruton, the son of former Taoiseach John Bruton.
Yellow Vest Ireland
Location: Armagh (NI), Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Mayo, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow
Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Conspiracy
The Yellow Vest Ireland movement (an opposition movement originating in France) began with a Facebook page in December 2018, set up by Wexford man Glenn Miller. Initially challenged by at least three other groups that wished to own the Yellow Vest mantle, Miller and his colleague Ben Gilroy were the predominant voices by 2019. At the start, the group had beliefs ranging across the political spectrum, but the progressive aspect of this movement quickly disappeared. Both men are deeply tied to far-right and racist figures. Gilroy tweeted that he had “limitless time” for those like Brexit leader Nigel Farage, when he was the leader of Direct Democracy Ireland. He is currently an active member of the Irish Freedom Party (IFP) and contested the 2019 European Parliament and 2020 General Election as an IFP candidate.
Miller is unabashed about his support for IFP. A former Defence Forces member, Miller is extremely active on social media and at the end of 2019 formed a Facebook Group, “Irish Lives Matter,” a play on the American racist slogan, “White Lives Matter,” which acts as an echo chamber for Yellow Vest Ireland. Yellow Vest Ireland protests have included other far-right extremists including Niall McConnell of Síol na hÉireann (Seed of Ireland). Even though these men do serve nominally as leaders in the group, it remains relatively unstructured. A lot of their agitation is related to the housing crisis, but their various social media accounts spread disinformation against vaccines, fluoride, and other issues. In December 2018, hundreds attended Yellow Vests protests in Dublin against “the perceived failures of the Government,” and also the use of fluoride in the public water supply, a popular cause among Irish conspiracists.
There is a strong anti-immigrant strain in the movement, including vocal opposition to the UN’s Global Compact on Migration. The movement has also pushed an Irish version of the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, arguing on social media that there is a plot to effect the “replacement of the indigenous population.” Yellow Vest Ireland appeared to be supportive of demonstrations against refugee service centers. By 2019, Yellow Vest Ireland participated in demonstrations in Dublin outside the Dáil, in opposition to proposed anti-hate speech legislation and, by 2020, against pandemic measures. An ad-hoc network, the Yellow Vests has suffered from significant infighting over the last few years, and has no real support, with events being called in 2022 with the aim of raising the waning political profile of Miller and Gilroy.
We would like to thank Ireland’s Far Right Observatory for providing input and research for this country report.
A previous version of the article referenced bathroom bills, but should have referenced policies. The article has been updated.