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New anti-fascist alliance to stand 'Le Chéile' against rise of far-right in Ireland

The alliance has already been campaigning under the slogan of #DiversityNotDivision.

An anti-lockdown demonstrations in Dublin.
An anti-lockdown demonstrations in Dublin.
Image: Rollingnews.ie

A NEW UMBRELLA group of public figures and various social justice groups have launched as ‘Le Chéile’ as part of efforts to combat the rise of the far-right in Ireland. 

The alliance has already been campaigning under the slogan of #DiversityNotDivision but today formally launched alongside a number of left-wing politicians. 

The alliance is made up of a number of social justice organisations, several which were involved in the Repeal the 8th movement, as well as various anti-racism groups. 

Public figures including Christy Moore, Damien Dempsey and Vincent Browne are among those who have also lent their support to the campaign. 

Far-right organisations have been present at a number of anti-lockdown demonstrations in recent months, at least one of which ended in violence and a garda investigation into the alleged assault of a counter-protester 

Le Chéile’s Ailbhe Smith says the primary aim of the group is to “discuss, talk about, raise awareness and educate” about the issues that far-right elements use to grow support.

She says many people who attend far-right rallies get caught up in something they’re not fully aware of.

“I think there are people who have a particular issue, a particular beef with our society and I completely understand that and they’re completely entitled. I think many of them then must be quite worried or concerned and a bit shocked at the elements who have propped up with these movements.”

Smyth adds that it is not the aim of Le Chéile to organise counter-protests to far-right rallies.

I think it’s very unfortunate that because of the situation in the US, that ‘anti-fascist’ which should be a positive thing I think the majority of people are deeply opposed to fascism, it is not necessarily accompanied by any kind of violent activity. 

PastedImage-21131 Le Chéile at today's launch in Dublin. Source: RónánDuffy/TheJournal.ie

TDs from Sinn Féin, Solidarity-People Before Profit and the Social Democrats were present at today’s launch and a number of trade unions are also listed as supporters. 

Sinn Fein TD Louise O’Reilly says that politicians can act as example to others. 

“We can use our platform as legislators, as politicians and as leaders in our own community to never miss an opportunity to highlight the need for diversity over division. To make sure that we send a very clear message to people that we won’t be divided on this and that it is about standing up to elements of the far-right,” he say

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President of the Union of Students of Ireland (USI) Lorna Fitzpatrick says that Covid-19 conspiracy theories have allowed the far-right to grow. 

“I think it’s important to ensure that we’re spreading factual information and ensuring that people have access to that. And I think the media have been really good in terms of making sure that we’re getting that information out there. I think it’s easy for people to be misled, especially in relation to Covid.”

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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