Official: Identity Ireland chose to launch on the date of the Utoya Massacre anniversary #IdentityIreland

St B Swastika

In my year or so as a columnist with, no-one has ever asked for a “right-to-reply” before. It’s strange, then, that Identity Ireland’s right-to-reply response to my column about them doesn’t actually address or reply to any of the points I raised.

I’ve been lucky enough to write a column for for just over a year now and – between ourselves – I consider myself preposterously fortunate to have the privilege of having a voice in the national media. That’s an honour I owe entirely to’s editor Susan Daly – who gave me the job – and to Jennifer Wade – who was my line-editor and whose wisdom and advice kept me in the job.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column (“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 Utoyaicial: 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’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 calling them far-right extremists? Um, no. The Social Democrats launched their party on the 15th of July.)

Now, I wouldn’t be the optimum measurement of whatever your metaphor in the appropriate receptacle is, but I’m not entirely stupid. 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’s 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.”

Peter O’Loughlin’s rather strange right-to-reply piece (“We need to take back control of our country before it’s too late”) takes the form of a manifesto of Identity Ireland’s bizarre imaginings of an international conspiracy to drown Ireland under a wave of brown people. It’s paranoid, delusional and borderline-unreadable but as a right-to-reply it fails to respond to a single one of the points I made.

To be honest, Mr O’Loughlin outlines the flaws in Identity Ireland’s thinking far better than I could, so I’ll just stick to the original point I made. 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.

So we’re back to the simple question:

Are Identity Ireland sinister, racist thugs or are they historically-ignorant idiots?

Donal O’Keeffe

The CRC: spending other people’s money like water


“The money that man got would allow me to create 50,000 nursing hours for my children. I resent that.” – Jonathan Irwin, CEO of the Jack & Jill Foundation.

So it turns out Paul Kiely, former CEO of the Central Remedial Clinic, got the guts of three quarters of a million, in a secret deal, basically to shag off. Using accountancy mechanisms which the late Father Ted Crilly might have recognised, the money was kept off the books via a “donation” from the charity “Friends and Supporters of the CRC”. By turning over this particular rock, the Dáil Public Accounts Committee certainly earned their money this week.

€700,000, as Gavan Reilly tweeted, is 233,333 of those CRC Santa Bears. Or, as many commentators have noted, about half of the money donated charitably in one year to the CRC.

An important point, which is in danger of being lost in this controversy, is that the CRC does vital work for vulnerable children and adults with profound disabilities. The money that was given to Paul Kiely had been raised in good faith by decent and kind people, and donated by decent and kind people, to provide support for people in desperate need of help. In fact, Tony O’Brien, head of the HSE, says that the money given to Kiely would have shortened waiting times for CRC patients. Go on. I suppose that’s why Tony’s on the big money himself.

Maria Nolan is the mother of 17-month-old Oisin. Oisin is dependent on the services of the Central Remedial Clinic. Maria calls the CRC “a lifeline” and “a second home”. Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she appealed to the public to continue to support the charity. I would really urge you to listen to what she had to say.

Dr Tom Clonan has also spoken and written very movingly of the care and affection given to his eleven-year old son Eoghan, who is a patient of the CRC, by the frontline staff there. “They are the reason people like me can sleep at night,” he says. He calls the CRC “an extension of the family and an oasis”. He feels that the patients and staff are the victims of a tactically-timed government leak to distract from the damage being done by Health Minister “Calamity James” Reilly and it’s very difficult to argue that he hasn’t a valid point.

Still, if not for the devastation being caused to real people, I might grudgingly like Reilly. It’s hard not to smile at a man so comically-inept he seems hardly able to answer the phone without setting fire to himself.

The CRC scandal throws up a very important question. There is a pressing need to ask what sort of a supposedly grown-up country outsources essential services to the charity sector but, to recycle the old Irish joke, if we were going there we probably wouldn’t start from here. Welcome to The Land Of We Are Where We Are.

The CRC scandal is a legacy of the nest-feathering cronyism that went on in our Ceaușescu Era, back when Fianna Fáil ran the country, possibly out of the back room of Fagan’s in Drumcondra. But not to worry, we’ve had a democratic revolution since then. Everything’s grand now.

You may, however, have noticed that the small matter of Irish Water (and the staggering €50 million which has already been spent on consultation fees) was also before the Public Accounts Committee on the same day. For instance, €4 million went to Ernst & Young to come up with a name for Irish Water. They came up with “Irish Water”. €4 million. Nice work if you can get it.

Of course you may not have noticed either, given the Augean stink raised by Paul Kiely’s pay-off. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

Unless you are a completely starry-eyed innocent, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that while the CRC was the way Fianna Fáil ran the country, Irish Water shows how Fine Gael and Labour do it. Once every five years, our ruling elite lets us change the donkeys nominally in charge and pays them well so they stay onside. Nobody is ever really held accountable. Small people suffer and the big boys, the lads who helped crash the country and their drinking buddies, retire on telephone-number pensions. Even if the money for those pensions has to be collected in buckets by the families and friends of disabled kids.

Imagine if, when nobody was looking, I dipped my hand into a CRC collection box and helped myself to half of the contents.

You’d call me a scumbag. And you’d be right. But compared to a man who would trouser three quarters of a million in charitable donations, I’d still only be the second-lowest of the low.

Donal O’Keeffe