The Far Right and Migrants
The Far Right and Migrants

The Far Right and Migrants

By Lean Tolentino

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Lean Tolentino is a member of the editorial committee and an eco-socialist. The views expressed herein are only their personal views.

Photograph of Tents by International Protection Agency, Photographer: Naoise McManus

The Far Right Rears Its Head

The lockdown and pandemic marked a turndown for the working class. After years of stagnation following the water charges, which was briefly interrupted by a militant student movement, the left suddenly found it’s meagre gains completely halted. The far right seemed ascendant – isolation, failures by anti-racist groups and mass proliferation of disinformation on social media resulted in large scale protests by disenfranchised communities against the government’s covid policies. For a short period after the lockdown, the far right seemed to have retreated, but with economic downturn, endless government corruption and mass migration following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the far right made an explosive reveal at Sandwith Street.

Young people from the area were egged on by several far right agitators, resulting in violent attacks on migrants and the burning of a refugee camp. A vehicle by the Streetlink Homeless Support Charity was attacked by gangs who hurled rubbish at the vehicle and blocked it from passing. Over the course of that week, some attacks were also carried out against refugees at the International Protection Office (IPO), and across Dublin.


I spoke with some migrants and activists from around the area to better understand the racism, discrimination and policy failures by government that deeply affected them. While visiting the IPO, I spoke with “Miguelito” a member of ILX, a rap trio from Ireland, Brazil and Venezuela. It was interesting speaking with a man who came from Ballymun, a working class area in Dublin, the sort of place that posh blokes from richer neighbourhoods in Dublin scorn as the basis for hooliganism and far right politics. He spoke a lot about how he was politically aware and had formed the trio to help challenge racism in Ireland. It was clear from speaking with him that a lot of the issues that communities like Ballymun faced also applied to migrants coming into the country. 

I also spoke with a man from Bangladesh visiting the IPO, he told me about how he had faced many years of political persecution in his home country – there is no real democracy in the country. He said,

If you protest the government, they will fire or kill you, otherwise you go to jail.

This same man told me how he had been in Ireland for over a year now and has been helping out with a local charity by the IPO that helps feed homeless people. 

A kurdish migrant, Sami spoke at length about the discrimination he faced in Ireland, which has effectively created a two tier system for refugees, between those who are white and those who are not.

Refugees come to seek asylum… they can’t move residency – they [the government] try to send them back. If you apply: they separate white from black.”

Yet, he also discussed in great detail about the struggles that Irish people were facing in their own country.

Many Irish people feel discriminated because they are not housed, rough sleepers. Young people over 18 can’t move out from the family. Rent torments parents…. Every society becomes unhappy…. Homelessness becomes a big issue.”

The reality that migrants easily realise the issues this nation faces, and try to work together with those struggling is both deeply touching and sad. It is sad in the sense that it does not feel as if that shared struggle has been equally reciprocated. While it is undeniable that the vast majority of support that migrants get is from working class communities, these communities have not realised entirely the need for a shared struggle – and we really have no one to blame but ourselves. Those of us who are active in the housing movement and anti-racism campaigns need to work towards the unity of everyone who struggles in this country. 

As Laure, a housing activist I spoke with said, 

All struggles are connected… I want everyone to live here, to be happy here. We have space, room and resources for everyone.

We cannot take lightly the current crisis we face with people fleeing wartorn and ravaged countries to seek shelter in Ireland, which is currently facing a housing crisis. But the reality is, there are thousands of AirBnBs, hundreds of fancy hotels taking up space in once working class communities. There are thousands of empty houses. If people in Ireland are not being housed there is but one perpetrator: the government representing the interests of the landlord class.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *