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UCC pledges security support for Nick Griffin visit in February

The student society organising a debate featuring the BNP leader says it has been given full security support by the college.

BNP leader Nick Griffin had been due to attend a debate on free speech at University College Cork in the New Year.
BNP leader Nick Griffin had been due to attend a debate on free speech at University College Cork in the New Year.
Image: Mike Hornby/PA Wire

A STUDENT SOCIETY at University College Cork says it has been given full backing from the college to go ahead with a debate featuring the controversial leader of the British National Party.

The Government and Politics Society last night said UCC had backed the society’s holding of the event “to the full extent”, amid campus speculation that the event was to be called off over security fears.

Griffin – who was due to speak at a debate on immigration in Trinity College earlier this year, but whose invitation was withdrawn over security concerns – will face an unnamed opponent in a chaired debate, before taking questions from the floor.

Student and university representatives have been meeting in recent days to discuss any similar threats arising from Griffin’s visit to Cork, scheduled for February 23.

“Basically we’ve outlined the risks, and our analysis of the situation, and the potential threat to the safety of students,” the society’s chairman Ben English told TheJournal.ie.

“Having analysed that, and all the possible implications, we’re happy that the event will proceed as it stands,” he added.

English added that the society anticipated protesters who would demonstrate against Griffin’s presence on campus, and that the society would “respect every person’s right to protest”.

The campus branch of the Labour party has been among the groups protesting against Griffin’s invitation.

“We’ve always said University College Cork is a diverse community, and we’d be very happy that the UCC community wouldn’t be willing to give a platform for fascism,” branch chairman Dean Duke said.

BNP spokesman Simon Darby expressed his hope that the debate would be able to go ahead has planned.

“People have a habit of not letting Nick speak… what are people fearful of? What’s the idea of stopping somebody speaking? I don’t quite understand,” he said.

How would it appear if, say, the Conservatives had successfully blocked the Labour Party from speaking? People would be in uproar. For some reason, they seem to get away with it.

University College Cork could not be reached for comment.

Read: BNP’s Nick Griffin set to address UCC society on free speech

Column: UCC’s Nick Griffin invitation is a game – and fascism is the winner

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Gavan Reilly

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