Last night, RTÉ Two’s documentary I Am Immigrant featured Peter O’Loughlin, of Identity Ireland.
The programme included footage of Mr O’Loughlin launching anti-Islamic group Pegida Ireland in Cork city on January 29.
At the launch, Mr O’Loughlin was accompanied by Ian Peake, from England but living in Kilkenny, and Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League and a leading member of Pegida UK.
One of the aims of the Cork launch was to announce that they would be holding a Pegida demonstration in Dublin the following week, on Saturday, February 6 – as part of simultaneous demonstrations that were to be held across Europe.
A counter anti-racism demonstration – in response to the Pegida Ireland launch – was also organised to take place on O’Connell Street on February 6.
Before the meeting in Cork appeared to begin, Mr Peake is filmed saying:
“We’re perfectly reasonable people, you know, we’re not facist, we’re not violent, we’re not trying to, we don’t go to meetings and shut people down like they try and do. That’s not how freedom of speech really works or democracy should work really, should it.”
Then a man, identified by the documentary’s narrator as a ‘protester’, arrives to attend the launch and the following exchange occurs.
Man: “I’m a member of the public, I’d like to see what’s going on. Is that ok?”
Ian Peake: “No, because it’s a private meeting, now fuck off.”
Man: “Excuse me.”
Man: “Don’t get aggressive with me.”
Peake: “I’m not getting aggressive with you, I’m just telling you how it is. You’re not welcome, sit down and shut up then.”
Man: “Don’t speak to me like that.
Peake: “I’ll speak to you how I want.”
Peake: “If you don’t like it, stop me. Mope.”
Immediately after this exchange, Peter O’Loughlin and Tommy Robinson shared a conversation which was recorded off camera but on the microphone.
This is what was said:
Peter O’Loughlin: “Ah, Ian. I know they’re gonna pick up on that.”
Tommy Robinson: “They got all that on camera.”
O’Loughlin: “Oh god, I know.”
Robinson: “Stay calm all the time. If the camera’s not there, fucking punch the geezers ’round the head.”
Later in the documentary, a transcript of a short conversation between Mr Robinson and Mr O’Loughlin is subtitled on the screen. It’s unclear when and where this was recorded, but this is what was said:
Robinson: “You wanna be seen as the victims. You want people viewing you like, fucking hell, look at how they’re getting treated. Give them a chance, do you know what I mean?”
O’Loughlin: “They’re going to say that they attack us and then they attack us, so we’ll catch them.”
Robinson: “Everyone likes an underdog.”
O’Loughlin: “Of course. And we’re the ultimate underdog throughout history. As long as the gardai are there ’cause it’ll help drive the gardai into our camp.”
The documentary then jumps to a week later when Mr O’Loughlin, Mr Peake, and a handful of supporters are in Dublin for the Pegida rally.
They were on the Luas, with the documentary’s camera crew, when several people appeared to attack Mr O’Loughlin and his supporters with Mr O’Loughlin emerging with a bleeding forehead.
On camera, one of Mr O’Loughlin’s supporters claimed up to 20 or 30 people attacked them but it’s impossible to judge from the footage. The faces of the attackers, as they leave the Luas, were blurred out – as were the faces of the other passengers.
Following this incident, the documentary returned to the Pegida rally and the anti-racist counter demonstration on O’Connell Street – where there was a large Garda presence.
The documentary then showed a clash between the Pegida supporters, the anti-racist protesters and gardaí on North Earl Street.
The narrator explains:
“A group of Polish Pegida supporters have come to the rally. As they wait for Peter O’Loughlin, they are spotted by counter protesters. After being barricaded into a shop by the counter protest, the Pegida supporters are taken away by police.”
The footage showed some of those people taken away by gardaí in handcuffs.
Scenes from today’s clash between supporters of anti-Islam group Pegida Ireland, anti racist protestors and gardaí.
Irish Times reports:
Scuffles broke out when a small party broke away from the main gathering of anti-Pegida demonstrators and chased another group, believed to be Pegida supporters, down North Earl Street and into a discount store.
Members of the Garda Public Order Unit, approaching from Talbot Street, baton charged protesters outside the shop back towards O’Connell Street and then set up a cordon in the middle of North Earl Street.
RTÉ is to make a formal complaint after a senior staff camerman was injured “by a garda”. Laura Fitzgerald, communications manager for RTÉ news and current affairs, said “one of our cameramen was injured while working covering a demonstration and he was injured by a garda”. She said the camerman was receiving medical attention.