Never assume, goes the saying because, well, you know the rest.
Sometimes the important question doesn’t get asked because the assumption is made that the question is too obvious or it doesn’t need to be asked because the answer is too obvious. Sometimes you take things for granted and sometimes you take people at their word. Even when they are hate-filled racists.
A while back, I wrote a column in TheJournal.ie (“Time for Ireland’s new anti-immigration party to answer difficult questions about its members“) pointing out – among other things – that Ireland’s new, anti-immigrant political party Identity Ireland had chosen to launch their movement on the 22nd of July, the anniversary of the Utoya massacre.
“Identity Ireland, an anti-immigration party, was launched… on 22 July, a hugely significant date. It is the anniversary of the murders of seventy-seven people by the far-right Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.
“Four years ago, on the 22nd of July, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people. He then travelled – disguised as a policeman – to Utoya Island where he shot dead 69 young people.
“On the morning of the attacks, Breivik laid out online a sprawling manifesto of hatred which encompassed his extreme nationalist views, his Islamophobia and his opposition to immigration, feminism and multiculturalism.
“Launching an anti-immigration movement on the anniversary of the Utoya massacre, though? All a pure coincidence, according to Identity Ireland, who say they hadn’t realised the significance of the date.
“You would have to imagine that anyone launching a right-wing anti-immigrant political movement on the anniversary of the Utoya massacre could only choose to do so for two possible reasons.
“Either they are deeply sinister individuals bent on showing solidarity with racist extremists whilst sending a not-very-subtle message of terror to immigrants; or else they are profoundly stupid people lacking any sense of history or self-awareness. Those possibilities are, of course, not mutually-exclusive.”
Online, Identity Ireland and their fans were not slow to respond. On Twitter, on Facebook and in TheJournal.ie’s comments section, they howled that I am variously, anti-Irish, anti-white and – no kidding – a Martian. My linking the launch date to the anniversary of the Utoya massacre was the starting point for most of the outrage.
One defence made repeatedly on Twitter was that the date was a coincidence and one mandated by the office of the Clerk of the Dáil. The 22nd of July was (depending on the claimant) either the last possible date they could apply to register as a political party (perhaps prior to the summer recess?) or indeed the only date on which they could do so.
(I was also told that the Social Democrats launched on the same date so why wasn’t TheJournal.ie calling them far-right extremists? Um, no. The Social Democrats launched their party on the 15th of July.)
The Identity Ireland lads say they launched their right-wing, anti-immigrant party on the anniversary of the Utoya massacre because the office of the Clerk of the Dáil forced them to do so and it’s all a coincidence, move along folks, don’t be listening to our alien insect overlords in the EU forcing the blacks on us.
There was an easy way of clarifying this.
I emailed the Clerk of the Dáil’s office and asked: “Is there a deadline after which it is not possible to apply to register as a political party? Is there a particular date upon which those wishing to apply for the status of political party (have to do so) or is this something which can be done at any time of the year?”
The Private Secretary to the Registrar replied: “There is no deadline after which it is not possible to apply to register as a political party. There is no particular date upon which those wishing to apply for the status of political party – this can be done at any time of the year.”
I asked: “Just to clarify, the date of their launch would therefore have been their own choice and not an imposition by your office, as they claim?”
She responded: “The date of the launch is a matter for the party concerned.”
So there you have it. Of the 365 days available to them, Identity Ireland chose to launch their right-wing, anti-immigrant party on the anniversary of the Utoya massacre.
My original question stands: Are Identity Ireland sinister, racist thugs or are they historically-ignorant idiots?
Back to my initial point, though. Sometimes the important question, the obvious question, is the one question nobody thinks to ask. Certainly, I didn’t think of it and, to my knowledge, none of the broadcasters who gave Identity Ireland airtime thought to ask either.
David O’Leary did ask, though. He asked the Private Secretary to the Registrar whether Identity Ireland actually is registered as a political party.
She replied: ” Identity Ireland are not a registered political party and have not registered with this office to date.
“The current Register can be obtained on our website.”
That raises several questions, obvious or otherwise.
What are Identity Ireland at, at all? They claim they’re running candidates in the upcoming election. If that’s true, why haven’t they registered as a political party?
Will the fact that they are not a registered as a political party give RTÉ producers cause to pause the next time refugees drown in the Mediterranean and the State broadcaster feels its obsession with “balance” would be served by a contribution from a representative of the hard of feeling community?
Why did the three geniuses behind Identity Ireland go through the hullabaloo of launching a political party and not actually register it? Were they unable to meet the requisite terms of registration? Were they unable to convince the Registrar that they were going to contest the upcoming election? Were they unable to meet the threshold of 300 members? Surely there are 300 racists in Ireland?
Was it how they didn’t want to spend the €635 needed for the deposit?
Is Identity Ireland actually serious about being a political party or are its members just a bunch of hate-filled, racist headbangers looking for attention and hoping to get on the wireless?
Yes, I know that last is a very obvious question but sometimes those need to be asked.