Protesters interrupt as Identity Ireland launch goes awry
By Shwetali Sapte
An unemployed schoolteacher is behind a new right-wing political party that launched with some controversy in Dublin last month.
Peter O’Loughlin – previously of the failed National Independence Party (NIP) and who ran unsuccessfully for the European Parliament last year – co-founded Identity Ireland with secretary Gary Allen and treasurer Alan Tighe, both of whom joined him at the “pro-sovereignty” party’s launch in Buswells Hotel on 22 July.
“[A country’s] identity is based on culture, heritage, history, commonality. So multiculturalism, obviously, literally undermines the foundations because you’re saying identity is no longer important,” said O’Loughlin in his address, which established the party’s stance on strict immigration controls, exit from the Euro and withdrawal from the EU.
Demonstrators from the Anti-Racism Network later disrupted the launch by distributing leaflets and reading out statements against the allegedly racist nature of the party’s platform.
One protester noted that the launch was being held on the fourth anniversary of far-right militant Anders Breivik’s slaughter of 77 people at a liberal political retreat in Norway.
O’Loughlin is currently contesting the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election for the seat left vacant in the Dáil by former Fine Gael TD Phil Hogan’s appointment as European Commissioner for Agriculture and Development.
His new party is also taking a stance against austerity, though last year O’Loughlin was lambasted by the left-wing Anti-Austerity Alliance for “playing the race card” in his NIP canvassing literature.
In a statement following their removal from the launch, the Anti-Racism Network heaped criticism on O’Loughlin and his party colleagues.
“Shame on you for so disgracefully using this anniversary to launch your racist project, and shame on anyone who gives you a platform, and shame on this Government whose utter contempt for migrants fortifies racists like Anders Breivik and Identity Ireland to deadly effect,” it said.