By Richard Manton
ON 19 March, the convicted Holocaust-denier and fascist David Irving will try to speak at NUI Galway.
In March last year, Irving attempted to speak at UCC in Cork, but was stopped by the Stop Irving Campaign initiated by the Socialist Party. There are a few important differences between the two attempts. Firstly, Irving will speak on his views on the Holocaust rather than free speech, making it even easier for him to cut straight to his fascist and anti-Semitic programme. Secondly, there have been huge developments in the economic and political situation in Ireland in the last year that could assist Irving in building the far-right.
The Socialist Party argues that Irving should not be given a platform for his views, especially a prestigious platform where his views could be seen as respectable or credible. He will use any platform as an opportunity to build. When fascists are allowed to speak, it can lead to a spike in racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic attacks. If any forces of fascism are given room to grow, it constitutes a physical threat to migrants, gays and lesbians and the organised left and the workers’ movement given the violent methods they use – this is a risk we cannot afford to take.
The Socialist Party will be initiating a campaign in the coming weeks, taking a lead from last year’s successful campaign by bringing the issue into the city and mobilising school students and the public. We will be appealing for all socialists, trade unionists and anti-fascists to come to Galway on the 19 March to stop this racist, homophobe and fascist organiser.
Irving was stopped from speaking in Cork in 1999, 2003 and 2008. Let’s make it Galway 2009.