Bryan Wall: Right To The Extreme

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From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s inaction on the housing crisis has allowed the far right a foothold, argues Bryan Wall

On Wednesday last, Solidarity-People Before Profit debated their anti-eviction bill for the second time. Tabling it during the private member’s session, the bill’s intention is to offer greater protection to tenants and put more legal restraints on those renting out properties.

We have all become accustomed to the tactic of landlords informing tenants that due to needed upgrades and renovations on their accommodation, they have to find other housing.

Oftentimes it is discovered that the accommodation has not undergone any renovations and that this was instead simply an excuse to get rid of tenants who were not paying an apparently appropriate amount of rent.

Personal situations obviously vary, but this tactic has become commonplace. One aspect of the housing and homelessness crisis that could be tackled relatively quickly then is this very issue. Hence the bill put forward by Solidarity-People Before Profit.

According to them, the bill would bar landlords and property companies from evicting tenants because of their intention to sell the property or on the basis of renovations to the property in question.

The bill would also “ensure that if a landlord tried to move a family member in that they must compensate the tenant”. The term landlord would also be redefined in order to take into account the fact that many properties are owned and rented by vulture funds and banks.

Now there would be legal responsibilities placed upon them which up until now they have managed to avoid due to legal loopholes and at the same time afford greater protections to their tenants. All things considered, this would be a step in the right direction in terms of securing a right, of some kind, to housing.

Tenants would now be able to feel secure knowing that they could not be evicted due to the ever-increasing greed of some for even more profit.

During the second stage debate last week, Ruth Coppinger pointed out that “There has been a 75 per cent increase in landlords” in Ireland in the last ten years.

Furthermore, as Paul Murphy pointed out during Leaders’ Questions, “one in four deputies” are themselves landlords. A report earlier this year put the figure at a slightly lower level at one in five, but it is nonetheless higher than the national average, which stands at one in twenty-eight.

In response to the proposed bill, Leo Varadkar claimed the bill “is designed more for publicity than policy”. The bill, he said, is “extreme” and could presumably be therefore dismissed out of hand. Nonetheless, the bill managed to pass the second stage on Thursday by 46 votes to 39.

Outside of his polished public relations-filtered appearances and statements, Varadkar’s neo-liberal ideology is plain to see in his statements during the Leaders’ Questions. For the Taoiseach and his acolytes, public relations is just one half of the economic policies they prefer; the ideological window dressing for the despoliation of the working class.

In the Dáil, however, the unfiltered truth can on occasion make an appearance. In the Taoiseach’s case, anything which would protect those renting is seen as extreme. The landlord class must be protected.

Any government concerned with the rights of those in rented accommodation would have welcomed or at the very least insisted on an open debate surrounding the anti-eviction bill.

Instead it was to be shot down as being too extreme given that it might put a scintilla of pressure on landlords and their pursuit of profits.

Is it any surprise then that people are angry and latch on to any group that gives them answers or hope? Far Right politics has always been an aspect of Irish political life but it has been relatively latent in comparison to continental Europe.

Now, however, we have seen the emergence and rising popularity of numerous Far Right talking heads. An Irish Far Right variant of the Yellow Vest movement has also emerged. In fact, two Yellow Vest movements have made themselves known online. One, Yellow Vest Ireland appears to be a front for the Far Right, either having been hijacked by them or having been set up as a front from the start.

This has been evidenced by the support they have engendered from well-known members of the Far Right in Ireland. A second Yellow Vest group, Yellow Vests Ireland – A United Movement for Social Change, appears to be more in line with the original French Gilets Jaunes.

Ben Gilroy, for example, made an appearance at a protest organised by the former group in Dublin on Saturday where he gave a speech, even though the Yellow Vest Ireland Facebook page has claimed no politicians would be welcome in their organisation.

Mr Gilroy, who is long known for his “freeman on the land” arguments has stated previously that he has “limitless time” for Nigel Farage.

He is also the former leader of the now essentially defunct Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) party, a right-wing ultra pro-capitalist party who were supported by the right-wing Christian Solidarity Party.

It is not known if Mr Gilroy is the leader of this Far Right deviation of the Yellow Vest movement, but his presence there on Saturday is indicative of the political leanings of the group.

Of course, the Left is partially to blame for the rise of the Far Right. A lack of coherent arguments and moral consistency is a like a plague in some parts of the Left.

An understanding of the economic pain that people have endured for the last ten years has also not been appreciated to the degree it should.

That parties of the Left have not capitalised on the effects of austerity and neo-liberalism is a monumental failure. And now, we are reaping the consequences of that failure.

This is not to say that the Left has not been active in terms of housing and economic injustice. Take Back the City, for example, goes from strength to strength in its highlighting of the housing crisis.

But many people, are nonetheless, attracted to those who claim to have the answers and a solution. At the moment, elements of the Far Right are offering that to people.

Whether the Left wants to admit it or not, the Labour Party was seen as the Left-wing party of Ireland. They were mainstream, well-known, and represented the average person. When they went in to government and betrayed their constituency, it opened up a political gap that the smaller parties of the Left, such as People Before Profit, have utterly failed to take advantage of.

Instead, the Right has entered the fray and offered hope to those who have none and who abhor the current political mainstream.

What this means is difficult to predict.

The anti-eviction bill is likely to not go much further all the while people continue to be evicted violently from their homes by banks, landlords, and vulture funds. Leo Varadkar and his supporters will continue with their current policies of supporting landowners and property speculators.

With the public not being blind to this, the Far Right could very rapidly make even more substantial gains. Suppositions and feeble predictions aside, we continue to lack justice. And injustice, especially when it breeds contempt, is a breeding ground for the Far Right.

Bryan Wall is an independent journalist based in Cork. His column appears here every Monday. Read more of his work here and follow Bryan on twitter:  @Bryan_Wall

Rollingnews

29 thoughts on “Bryan Wall: Right To The Extreme

    1. MaryLou's ArmaLite

      ahh give over, the far right?
      all ye lefty types think everyone right of them is far right.

      1. Nigel

        On the one hand, yeah they are most definitely center right rather than far right, so more like Macron or Trudeau or Obama or Clinton. On the other hand, since our center right parties are responsible for both the crash and austerity and various current crises, they’re pretty dangerous in their own deeply mediocre way, and most dangerous of all, they have no policy on climate change and are actively acting in ways harmful to biodiversity, which is utterly reckless in this day and age.

        1. MaryLou's ArmaLite

          For sure we tend to have center right governments, but we have those because of a lack of viable alternatives.
          No group of individuals can coordinate themselves around a coherent center left message or policy.

          The tend to big to loopy AAA/PBP, wishy washy SD, or too terroristy SF/IRA.

        2. CO2 Rocks

          Look at Nigel still spinning his man-made climate change conspiracies as “most dangerous of all”.

          Never mind homelessness.

          Never mind the theft of Irish homes by unscrupulous financial bandits.

          Never mind the clusters of suicides.

          No, “most dangerous of all” is the made-up, fake science we’re turning into a quasi-religious cult in order to enforce even more austerity and destruction on the population.

          Nigel is not your friend, dear readers, he want to tax you just for living your life. He’s an enemy of wealth, logic and rational thought. Ignore him and oppose his fake science and breath tax.

          (BTW: Macron, Trudeau, Obama and Clinton are lefty, liberal fascists – bent on destroying their cultures, nations and peoples from the inside.)

      1. BobbyJ

        Yes, without a doubt. That is why FG and FF are the two largest parties. Well known cultural Marxists, famous among the International Left

        1. McVitty

          It’s the advocacy groups that they bow to on the back of guidance by spin doctors like the Communications Clinic. Same result, different dynamics. FG will happily bow to a very liberal abortion framework proposal or burn down Dail speaking time by entertaining discussions from Paul Murphy about how transgender people are affected by the bill but he will dodge any queries into whether they bear some responsible for how NAMA has been benefiting institutional foreign investment bodies instead of gettng the max return for the Irish people, creating scarcity left right and centre.

          FG will pander to the social justice demands of the minority group of the moment but they don’t give a damn about wider fairness or the social contract.

          Time to wake up a bit I’d say…

    2. Termagant

      Man, when you put it like that it really succinctly qexplains the gay marriage referendum, the referendum on abortion and our vastly overbloated welfare state.

  1. A Person

    Ah seriously, this is like a junior cert essay, ill-informed and certainly badly researched. Paul Murphy at the weekend was calling for the gillet jaune protects in Ireland. The protects in France have been hijacked by both far left and right extremes. (Why is it always far right and not far left in article by Mr Wall?) 7%% increase in landlords in Ireland- absolute nonsense. The main protectors in Roscommon complain about foreigners taking back property – surely these are far right sentiments?

  2. Gary Elbert

    The far right!! The sight of Brid Smith begging a Fine Gael minister to stop the impending rise of Nazisim in Ireland was the moment the far left officially lost the plot and coming after the absurd ” Nazi scum off our streets” chanting at a bunch of ethno nationalist buffoons.

  3. Ugh

    And of course, becoming a dangerous umbrella or figurehead to this assorted arsenal of moon units is none other than investigative journalist Gemma O’D.

    Check out her growing Youtube channel with it’s 8,100 subscribers and something like between 5 – 10k viewers per video now. You’ll get the full range of far-right conspiracy theories, thinly veiled nonsense about foreigners on crime sprees and anti-semitic George Soros brain farts.

    The one on the UN migration treaty protest mentioned in this Broadsheet post is a real treat. Have your popcorn ready for that one.

    1. McVitty

      yeah because to criticise the man who almost took out the british pound in 1992 and has since become a global meddler makes you anti-semetic…where did you go to school might I ask?

      1. Nigel

        If you’re going to single out just the one Jewish high-finance global meddler who has been accused of ridonkulous conspiracy bilge then yeah that’s a risk you run. She did the whole ‘Soros-paid-protestors’ thing and all so the heck with her.

        1. McVitty

          If she suggested a group were acting in concert to undermine sovereign nations, i might agree with that statement – but drawing attention to just one bad actor (who evidently has access to the highest offices of governance and funds activism) does not point to a position on religious leaning. It might be that the likes of yourselves only see things in gender, creed and colour….yet somehow think you are the good guys lol

          I bet DOB wishes there are as minority/victim group he could seek shelter in. Jesus wept.

  4. Dub Spot

    Poor article. I am surprised BS continues to allow these kind of first year UCD sociology/Students Union paper views of the world. As usual with Irish students and activists the local scene is viewed through a British prism of Left and Right. And it’s the same here. Another offender – Una Mullally of the Irish Times on Jeremy Corbyn of the British Labour Party:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/where-is-corbyn-s-leadership-amid-the-havoc-of-brexit-1.3733122

    WHY?

    #AmateurHour

  5. Joe

    FFG the landlords and vulture funds party. Neo liberal right wingers like FFG will never solve the homeless crisis but only exacerbate it whilst doing their utmost to retain power and enrich themselves and their cronies. Its time for an election and for these FFG parasites to be removed from government

    1. Cian

      And replaced with who? Labour? Sinn Fein? AAA/PBP? Independents? A rainbow of all these?
      Until there is a half-decent alternative, the people will continue to vote FF/FG.

  6. Kolmo

    It’s not a left or right situation, it’s basic humanity versus being a dick – it’s short term maximising of profit by those holding all the cards at the almost parasitic expense of the rest of society. There is a social time-bomb being created and only when it starts affecting the insulated classes – some half-arsed attempt of trying to solve a increasingly gangrenous problems will be carried out – the longer the problems with housing, health and the related high-level corruption goes on, the bigger the sheer and more radical the backlash. The dogs on the street know it. Those decrying any calling out of this obvious issue, needs to imagine the logical progression of the situation – your BMW is at risk, your investments are at risk, life will become very cheap – (see Brazil 70,000+ murders per annum) if there is an underclass created so removed from what is regarded as normal society that they have nothing to lose.
    It’s like in the 1900’s in parts of urban england, local authorities wanted to install inside bathrooms in their social housing, the same regressive elements we have today shouted loudly about having to pay for all this undeserved luxury for the lower orders – it was not for the benefit of the lower orders this was imagined, it was so those in the ‘more civilised’ orders didn’t have to tolerate the ghastly smell, god forbid. Very crude comparison, I know, but it’s the same mentality. Apes with money are still apes and we have a lot of well-spoken apes here but we also have some of the most decent people on earth that try to improve the situation of those less fortunate.

    1. A Person

      Sorry I have to call you out on this post. If you have money, you are an Ape? If you have no money you are decent. Get a grip.

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