From top: The hotel in Moville, County Donegal earmarked for Direct Provision on Sunday morning; Bryan Wall
In the early hours of Sunday morning, a hotel that had been designated as the location for a direct provision centre was set on fire. The hotel, located in the small town of Moville in County Donegal, was in the process of being renovated in expectation of the arrival of roughly one hundred asylum seekers.
It appears that at around 4.30 am something was thrown through one of the windows of the hotel which started the fire. Two people were in the hotel at the time, the owner and his daughter it is believed, one of whom had to be taken to hospital for treatment. No further information was available at the time of writing regarding the cause of the fire.
Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, and Minister of State for Equality and Integration, David Stanton, issued a joint statement in which they “condemned the arson attack on the Causal Mara Hotel”.
Minister Flanagan described the incident as “despicable” and which “could have led to a very serious tragedy.” For his part, Minister Stanton said he “deplore[d] this attack” given that the hotel was “being prepared for accommodation by persons seeking international protection in Ireland.” An arson attack on the hotel was therefore “deeply shameful.”
A representative of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) told me they “condemn this action taken by these people who perpetrated racism and hatred.”
The attack comes on the heels of a tour of Ireland by Far Right activists Damhnait McKenna, Lauren Southern, and Caolan Robertson. All three are well-known for their anti-immigrant views and their peddling of the racist myth of a white genocide being perpetuated by Cultural Marxists.
Ms McKenna is the leader of Generation Identity UK and Ireland. Members of the group have been sent on military-style training in Norway, as was revealed late last year. She claims that the views of her and the groups she leads are not extreme.
On the other hand, the anti-racist organisation Hope not Hate has described Generation Identity as “racist and extreme.” They also point out that Generation Identity “calls for ‘ethnopluralism’, which in practice means separating and segregating people along racial lines.” The overriding principle of the group, according to Hope not Hate, is to defend their “biological heritage.”
Lauren Southern is a well-known provocateur with a sizeable online following and is essentially the voice of the Far Right. She recently made a documentary in which she claims that white genocide is taking place, most especially in South Africa.
She has also supported, and taken part in, the attempts of Far Right groups Generation Identity and Defend Europe to block humanitarian organisations from rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean. In recent weeks Ms. Southern and her film crew posed as journalists and obtained an interview with the Ariel Ricker, the Executive Director of Advocates Abroad.
The interview that was shared online was highly edited and portrayed Ricker and her organisation as coaching migrants to lie to border patrol agents in order to gain entry to Europe.
In response, Advocates Abroad wrote that they were “aware of a video that shows a heavily edited version of an informal conversation that was secretly filmed and without consent.”
Furthermore, they pointed out that the video was “being used for political right wing effect, and misconstrued” to shore up “an anti-refugee and anti-human rights political agenda.” “This”, they declared, “is a shameful act of cowardly abuse.”
For his part, Caolan Robertson works alongside Southern and holds the same views. He previously worked at Rebel Media, the same organisation that Southern worked for before both departed.
He portrays himself as a “film maker” and as a “social commentator”. What he actually does, however, is no different than Southern. That they work together is indicative of this. For Robertson and Southern, anything non-white and non-Christian is deemed a threat that must be stopped.
This means, in their eyes, “defending Europe” from the hordes trying to make it across the Mediterranean. Robertson’s beliefs extend to stating that the homophobic attack on The George in Dublin last year “Was most likely gays desperate to be victims.”
All three have been on a tour of Ireland for the last few days in order to film anti-immigrant sentiment and reinforce the belief that white culture is being slowly eroded and replaced by “outsiders”.
On the day before the attack, Robertson posted to his Twitter account that he was “Filming today in a small town in Ireland that is forcefully moving hundreds of migrants into the only hotel in town, a historic building.”
Their reporting consists of nothing more than poorly disguised racism and Islamophobia. When I spoke to the Garda Press Office they would neither confirm or deny that they were looking into the movements of McKenna, Robertson, and Southern, or that they were aware of their presence in the country.
In the aftermath of the attack, an emergency meeting took place in Moville yesterday afternoon. There the attendees made it clear that asylum seekers would be welcome to the town and no act of violence would discourage that sentiment.
When I spoke to MASI they told me “The new asylum seekers will be welcome by all”.
In spite of this, we must be wary that any welcoming gesture to asylum seekers and refugees will be seen as a betrayal by those on the Right and their mouthpieces online.
Motions to help any group who are not Irish or white is seen as deep disloyalty towards Irish and European culture. Their unintelligible violence will likely erupt again as a result, as will their usual uneducated drivel about Cultural Marxism and white genocide.
For now, anyone concerned about the rise of Far Right movements must be vociferous in their denial of a stage or platform to anybody of the same ilk as McKenna, Robertson, and Southern. If this means denying them entry to the country then so be it.
Their hatred has no place in a multicultural Ireland in which we can all strive for a democratic and egalitarian future for ourselves and our children.
We, as Irish people, have a special obligation to those suffering the effects of natural disasters, famines, and wars, and who are forced to flee their homes. We collectively understand what it means to be under the yoke of an oppressor.
And we know what it means to have to leave our country, our families, and in many cases never return. When we turn away those who most need our help and understanding, we are betraying our history and ourselves.
The Far Right cares naught for this understanding. Their grasp of the world extends no further than someone’s religion or skin colour. Times such as this are dangerous for the potential violence that they hold. Regardless, the Far Right and their apologists must be contained and combated.
We know what the hatred of the Far Right results in. It makes no difference if their ideology comes in the form of well-spoken internet provocateurs. The final consequences will be the same.
As we welcome those in need we must protect them and ourselves from the bile and hatred of the Far Right, their mouthpieces, and the lies they spew.
Top pic via MASI