Dublin Riots: Immigration’s Complicated Role in Growing Ireland’s Far Right

Unraveling the Factors Behind the Rise of Far-Right Movements in Ireland

The recent riots in Dublin city center have shed light on the growing presence of far-right ideologies in Ireland. The violence erupted shortly after a stabbing incident near a primary school, prompting the country’s police chief to attribute the unrest to a “lunatic, hooligan faction driven by a far-right ideology.” This article delves into the complex factors fueling the rise of the far right in Ireland, exploring the historical context of migration, the changing demographics of the country, and the socio-economic challenges that have contributed to the emergence of this movement.

Migration and Ireland’s History:

Migration has long been a part of Ireland’s history, with millions of people leaving the country in search of better opportunities. From the mass exodus during the Great Famine to the emigration to countries like the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, leaving Ireland was a common phenomenon. However, in the past two decades, Ireland has witnessed a significant increase in immigration, driven by EU enlargement and the influx of migrants from countries such as India, Brazil, the Philippines, and Nigeria.

Changing Demographics and Public Discourse:

According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, one-fifth of the population in the Republic of Ireland was born abroad. This number includes over 90,000 Ukrainian refugees who sought shelter in Ireland due to the war with Russia. The presence of a large foreign-born population has sparked debates and concerns about the impact of immigration on Irish society. Despite this, migration has not been a prominent issue in Irish party political discourse, even during times of economic hardship and increased unemployment.

The Absence of Mainstream Far-Right Figures:

Unlike other European countries, Ireland does not have a prominent far-right political figure akin to Marine Le Pen, Giorgia Meloni, or Geert Wilders. This can be attributed to the collective memory of emigration and the Irish people’s desire to be welcoming to newcomers. However, senior politicians and law enforcement officials have begun to acknowledge the threat posed by far-right activists who exploit issues such as housing shortages, the cost of living crisis, and concerns about asylum seekers.

Incidents of Unrest and Localized Protests:

The recent violence in Dublin is not an isolated incident. In September, politicians had to be escorted out of parliament buildings due to protests by far-right demonstrators. Additionally, there have been localized protests against new residences for asylum seekers, with some individuals seeking political advantage ahead of upcoming elections. While no far-right politician has been elected to office in Ireland, there is a growing anti-establishment sentiment among various groups, each with their own concerns, such as anti-immigration, opposition to “woke culture,” and resistance to Covid-19 lockdown measures.

The Role of Social Media:

Social media platforms have played a significant role in the rise of the far right in Ireland. They have provided a platform for like-minded individuals to connect, share ideas, and mobilize supporters. It is important to note that not all far-right activists support violence, and opportunistic individuals took advantage of the chaos during the riots for personal gain.

The Policing and Political Impact:

The Dublin riots are likely to have both policing and political implications. Law enforcement agencies are expected to adopt a tougher stance against far-right activists while still respecting the right to protest. Politicians, including the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, have called for stricter control over refugee flows, particularly in light of the recent influx of Ukrainian refugees. However, it is crucial to maintain a balanced perspective and recognize that the challenges associated with recent immigration pale in comparison to the long-standing issues posed by centuries of emigration.


The rise of far-right movements in Ireland is a complex phenomenon influenced by historical migration patterns, changing demographics, and socio-economic challenges. While Ireland does not have mainstream far-right figures or a cohesive far-right party, there are growing concerns about the exploitation of issues such as immigration, housing shortages, and cultural change. The recent riots in Dublin highlight the need for a nuanced approach to address these concerns while maintaining a welcoming and inclusive society. Proper management of migration and open dialogue are crucial to ensuring that Ireland continues to uphold its values of hospitality and céad míle fáilte.






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