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No place in Ireland for racism and Islamophobia- Lynn Boylan MEP

6 February, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has today addressed anti-racism rally on O’Connell Street, Dublin.

Speaking at the rally Ms Boylan said:

One hundred years ago on this very location the Irish Republic was declared. 

A Republic that guaranteed religious and civil liberties, equal rights and equal opportunities.

Today just like then we are taking a stand against oppression, a stand against inequality. 

We are standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity to show that there is NO place in Ireland for racism and Islamophobia.

There is no place in Ireland for HATE.

We are a welcoming nation because we are no strangers to migration. 

We too have had our coffin ships, we too have been discriminated as immigrants, just like those who board boats today with no guarantee of survival so too did our ancestors. 

And just like those who flee for safety from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are victims of a situation not of their making so too were those who left Irish shores.

The rise of the extreme right across Europe is deeply disturbing but it cannot be separated out from the economic and foreign policies of the last two decades.  Facism and poverty go hand in hand. Just like Imperialism and refugees.

When resources are scarce, we have vulnerable communities pitted against each other.  Vile organisations like Pegida exploit this to whip up fear and anger just as their counterparts did in the 1930’s.

But while it is easy to point the finger at Pegida and Front National we must be extra vigilant for those far right parties that are slipping under the radar.

Pegida and Front National should be rightly condemned for their hateful doctrine but it was not them who set dogs and tear gas on refugee women and children in Hungary.  

That was Fidesz, a party that sits in the same centre right group in the European Parliament as Fine Gael.  It was not Pegida that painted refugee doors red and made them wear armbands. 

That was under David Cameron’s Conservative Party.

It was not Pegida that passed laws to seize belongings of refugees, that was Danish Social Democrats.

So as we rightly rally here today to protest against an Irish branch of Pegida, we must also be extremely vigilant to the insidious creeping of racist policy into the mainstream.

It is each and everyone of our responsibility to call out racism where and when we see it.  That includes discriminatory policies against travellers.

It is each and everyone of our responsibility to stand up and speak out wherever it raises its ugly head.  That includes on social media, public transport, our workplace and our schools.

It is our obligation to challenge the policies of austerity, to direct the anger in the direction of those who make the policy not those who are the victims of it.  It is our duty to oppose increasing militarisation and to stop the destabilisation of the Middle East in pursuit of oil and gas.

We cannot allow fascism and extreme right ideology to take hold in Ireland.   We must pull it out by its bitter, twisted roots.

And Just like in 1933 when the Blueshirts were sent packing with their planned rally, we too must send Pegida packing today.”

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