News & Media

Take an Irish Stand on St Patrick’s Day

15 March 2021

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has called for Ireland to take an ‘Irish Stand’ against racism this St. Patrick’s Day. As virtual events are held across the world to celebrate the Irish diaspora, this ‘Irish Stand’ against racism is to show solidarity with immigrants everywhere. It also comes at a very stark time in Irish life, as the far right continue to organise protests on St. Patrick’s Day.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“Irish Stand was originally formed to expose the hypocrisy of Irish-Americans wearing the green on St. Patrick’s Day while supporting Trump’s racist policies. However, with the incremental rise of those far-right elements here in Ireland, there is an urgent need to address and stamp out racism and xenophobia here in Ireland.

“The worrying rise of the far right in Ireland that thrives on toxic nationalism, and seeks to exploit the public health measures we’ve had to implement to protect against Covid-19 requires a comprehensive response from Government. There are plans for more protests to be held on St. Patrick’s Day and we need to ensure that there is a policing plan put in place to tackle those who will try to resort to violence for political purposes.

“When once we looked with a heavy heart to America, the problem truly is on the rise here in Ireland, expressing itself on our streets and in our communities. While there is no doubt that social media companies have a role to play in tackling this, we also need to open a wider conversation, identifying ways in which we can tackle the far-right in Ireland. The Labour Party is committed to eradicating racism and the causes of racism in our society.

“Being a member of Irish society is not about being born in Ireland or parentage or formal citizenship, but about choosing to make a long-term commitment to life in Ireland. The Government must implement a plan to fight racism and xenophobia.”