The launch of Ireland’s newest party descended into farce as Identity Ireland faced allegations of racism on the day that it formally registered with the Dáil.
The fledgling party held its first press conference in Dublin’s Buswell’s Hotel yesterday, but the launch was disrupted by anti-racism activists who protested against Identity Ireland’s anti-immigration policies.
The launch was disrupted by angry exchanges between protesters and members of the party, with anti-racism activists alleging Identity Ireland chose yesterday’s date to launch the party to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Anders Breivik’s massacre of 77 people in Norway.
Sample of the quieter moments of the 'press conference' pic.twitter.com/ctqlFuJASe— Páraic Gallagher (@paraicgallagher) July 22, 2015
Identity Ireland spokesperson Peter O’Loughlin described allegations the party is racist as “nonsense”.
“Anytime you want to have a meaningful debate on boarder control, certain people call you a racist,” he said.
“Very, very few people are pointing the finger of blame at immigrant people, the finger of blame is pointed at immigration policy,” Mr O’Loughlin said.
Various shouting matches now taking places in various parts of this small room in Buswell's - press conference still not happening— Páraic Gallagher (@paraicgallagher) July 22, 2015
Identity Ireland says that it aims to “regain full sovereignty for Ireland and to retake complete control of our country and our resources”, and says that it believes in a “zero tolerance approach towards demands to alter national life, culture and traditions to accommodate minority held beliefs and cultures”.
The party also advocates abandoning the euro and readopting the punt.
Mr O’Loughlin, who unsuccessfully contested last May’s Carlow-Kilkenny by-election, said that the party would be in favour of leaving the EU in its current guise.
Describing the EU as a “straightjacket”, he said the EU bears little resemblance to the EEC that Ireland joined and that too much power has been ceded to unelected officials.
He said that Ireland has been left “vulnerable” as a result. “We have given up sovereignty to the EU and are no longer in control of our affairs,” he said.
“We are not saying we should shut ourselves off, but protect ourselves from the insidious effects of a globalised world,” he said.
Leaflet from Peter O'Loughlin - Identity Ireland - Carlow Kilkenny By Election pic.twitter.com/raLaKygxja— Alan Kinsella (@electionlit) July 22, 2015
Mr O’Loughlin said that Identity Ireland plans to run a “handful” of candidates in the next general election, but the number of constituencies it contests will depend on when the election is called.
“We will be fielding some strong candidates,” he said.
Speaking ahead of the launch, party co-founder Alan Tighe said Identity Ireland was happy with Mr McLoughlin’s result in the recent by election.
“It was valuable experience and a good start to what is a long road to government. People know we’re serious and are happy to put their faith in us as shown by our growing membership,” he said.
It is the third party to officially launch this year following Renua Ireland and the Social Democrats.
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