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Nationalist Party leader Justin Barrett Alamy Stock Photo

Green, white nationalist and gold: Who exactly are the National Party?

The far-right group has had limited electoral success in Ireland.

AS POLITICAL PARTIES go, the National Party are a relatively unknown quantity to most Irish voters.

But yesterday, the small group made headlines after it was bizarrely alleged that €400,000 worth of gold had been stolen from the party.

The story appeared to have died down almost as soon as it was reported, with a suggestion from sources that no crime has been committed, but some may be left wondering who exactly the party involved are.

It is not the first time the National Party has come to prominence, however.

The far-right party was founded in 2016 amid a series of controversies – including an aborted launch at a Dublin hotel and a provocative interview with its leader Justin Barrett on Today FM.

The party has never achieved electoral success in the seven years it has been in operation.

It describes itself as a “nationalist, Eurosceptic and pro-life” organisation “best known for advocating a reversal of mass-immigration policies”.

On its website, it lists nine principles which act as something of a manifesto, which encompasses everything from the party’s position on a United Ireland, to its opposition to abortion, to its aim to legislate for the return of the death penalty in Ireland.

Anti-racism advocates have long hit out at the party’s far-right policies, which have included calls for all immigrants to leave Ireland and for Muslims should be banned from entering the country, and the belief that cheap labour from Eastern Europe ruined the Irish economy in.

“I think if you look into the personality behind the so-called National Party and the rhetoric and the track record of people involved, you can see what kind of people they are,” a spokesperson for the European Network Against Racism previously told The Journal.

Another group, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, have described the party as a “white nationalist” group.

The party is among those who have featured at the forefront of culture war issues in Ireland in recent years.

It participated in anti-lockdown protests throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and during one such protest in 2020, one of its members assaulted a prominent LGBTQ+ activist with a wooden plank.

In another protest that year, the party organised a protest against Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman, who is gay, whom they wrongly accused of being sympathetic towards paedophiles.

Its members have also attended anti-immigration protests across Ireland over the past 12 months. 

Despite officially registering as a party under Irish law in 2016, the National Party has repeatedly failed to comply with its obligations under the Electoral Act.

The Act requires all parties in Ireland to submit details of donations to them or their candidates, as well as statements of their accounts to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) each year.

Documents show that National Party candidates received €7,500 in donations in 2019 and €2,500 in donations in 2020.

However, the party has failed to furnish Sipo with statements of its accounts every year since 2018.

A Sipo spokesperson said the commission did not have powers to enforce the requirement.

“The current legislation does not provide for sanctions or penalties for non-compliance with the obligations regarding statement of accounts,” a statement said.


In the most recent general election in 2020, all ten of the National Party’s candidates failed to be elected, receiving a cumulative total of 4,773 votes (around 0.2% of the entire number of valid votes that were cast across the country).

Its leader Justin Barrett also stood during the Dublin Bay South by-election in 2021, receiving 183 first preference votes out of a total of 26,882 valid votes in the constituency (or 0.7% of the total).

Barrett, who signed yesterday’s party statement about the missing gold, has a long, if low-key, history in Irish politics.

Originally from Tipperary, he started as a member of Young Fine Gael but left in the early 1990s before taking up a position in the militant anti-abortion group Youth Defence.

He campaigned against the legalisation of divorce in 1995 (before later getting a divorce himself) and was involved in various anti-abortion campaigns with Youth Defence until the early 2000s, when he headed the No to Nice Campaign.

According to the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, Barrett began associating with neo-Nazi groups around the same time.

He is reported to have attended meetings by the neo-fascist National Democratic Party in Germany and Forza Nuova in Italy in 2002, though he later claimed that he was unaware of both groups’ neo-Nazi links.

After unsuccessfully standing as an independent candidate in 2004′s European Parliament elections, Barrett receded from the limelight until popping up again in 2016 when the National Party was launched.

His second wife, Rebecca Barrett, is also a prominent member of the party and stood unsuccessfully in the 2020 general election.

She made headlines the same year when Twitter confirmed it had removed a tweet she posted targeting the ethnicity of former Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu.

Another prominent member, James Reynolds, left the party in the wake of the gold controversy this week.

A Longford-based farmer, Reynolds was previously the party’s vice president and had served as chairman of the Longford branch of the Irish Farmers’ Association until 2003.

He was also a treasurer of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association until 2016, when he was removed from that position following a vote that came on foot of his membership of the National Party. He unsuccessfully appealed that move in the courts.

It is unclear what caused Reynolds to leave the party and at the time of writing he is still listed as the party’s vice president on its website.

Another former prominent member, Philip Dwyer, has recently teamed up with Cork-based conspiracy theorist and anti-immigration activist Derek Blighe to form a new political movement called Ireland First.

Dwyer, who has been a prominent figure in the anti-immigration movement over the past year, also stood in 2020 and was previously seen as a rival for the National Party’s leadership before he was expelled in 2022.

A self-described ‘citizen journalist’, his expulsion followed a live-stream he recorded from the grave of murdered school-teacher Ashling Murphy, during which he suggested there was a conspiracy by the government, media and NGOs to “distort the truth” about her killing.

Dwyer has also had several legal issues over the years, unrelated to the National Party.

He lost his job as a postman with An Post in 2010 after being found to have kicked a dog while working, while he was also charged earlier this year for engaging in threatening behaviour after he confronted staff at a creche in Dublin about a rainbow poster.