After the launch of Identity Ireland last week, Gavin Hyland argues that a pessimistic view on immigration cannot be considered racism by default.
Identity Ireland is a new political party which launched last week among protests from anti-racism activists who believe the new party is inciting hatred and violence through their policies.
Identity Ireland says they are: “Dedicated to regaining full Irish sovereignty and which always puts Irish people first”.
The party has been established in the wake of the news that Ireland will take in at least 600 immigrants from the Mediterranean crises.
Immigration is present in the history of almost every country, including Ireland, but we are seeing a mass immigration to Europe which is causing concern on the continent.
Germany is dealing with almost 450,000 asylum seekers who fled Syria and other war-torn countries in the middle-east and Africa.
It must be stressed that a pessimistic view on immigration cannot be considered racism by default; we must have tolerance for all points of view. Having a democracy means political parties can be set up to fight any cause they wish, it is imperative we do not restrict what can be advocated for or against.
Political correctness probably dictates that Ireland should take any quota of immigrants which the EU sees as proportionate, but if there are genuine concerns, Identity Ireland now lends a voice to the concerned.
The question being raised is whether Europe has the facilities and social structures to deal with the mass migration to Europe.
The Irish Navy has sent two ships to aid those attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. In treacherous seas the LÉ Eithné and LÉ Niamh have saved thousands of lives between them, and as a compassionate nation, few people have argued the involvement of Irish Forces in this complex rescue mission.
The issues are raised when we look at the future for those lucky enough to have survived the crossing.
In Ireland there is a concern that we do not have the economic means to provide for immigrants due to a precarious economy and a shortage of houses.
In their manifesto, Identity Ireland says: “The relentless influx of illegal immigrants who pay traffickers to get them to Europe via the Mediterranean has to be stopped. Quota sharing of illegal immigrants is not addressing the problem, it's merely encouraging it."
The solution to this humanitarian issue is complicated and must be tackled by departments of Foreign Affairs as well as heads of state across Europe, but the solution will come from debate, as in all democratic states.
Debate can only exist if there are opposing views. Identity Ireland offer an opposing view in an ever-crowded political field. We have an obligation to listen to their arguments before labelling them as “racists”.
In less than 100 years, Ireland has travelled from fighting for freedom to being in a position to help other nations.
We have proved we can govern ourselves effectively through democracy. The fate of Identity Ireland lies in the hands of the people of Ireland.
Photo: Identity Ireland