More from Ireland’s extremist fringes

Matthew McKeever
8 min readMay 21, 2023

Last week I took a look into what Irish far-right had to say about the anti-refugee protest and violence in Sandwith street in the centre of Dublin. I noted a couple of things: first, how it was odd that, among people concerned with this issue in Dublin domestic affairs, it seemed like the concerns of the global right had taken root, with anti-vax, anti-communism, anti-LGTB+, etc. messages being popular among those talking about the Sandwith street incident; and second, how the discussion seems to be propagated by non-Irish people with big followers. Both of these suggest a sort of globalization: instead, as one might have expected, of having groups consisting of Irish people and concerned with Irish matters, both topics and people from abroad seem to have an important place.

Here I present some more evidence in favour of that globalizing trend. I’m going to look at two events in Ireland this weekend and show how the same pattern plays out, thereby enabling us better to understand these movements which, it seems, aren’t going away.

Event 1: O’Connell Street, Dublin, 20 May

There was a demonstration on Saturday afternoon in the centre of Dublin. It seems perhaps it didn’t go so well although the organizer had these pics:

Second image cropped because I don’t want to be doxxing anyone exercising their right to protest; I include it because the poster (in particular the colour and font) will be relevant below.

If we then follow the link from the banner we are brought to this page:

The tabs is a sort of greatest hits of a particular social group. I don’t know if there’s a canonical name for them, but it’s typified by a fear of mostly governmental or supergovernmental entities attempting to harm people by a variety of methods, some of which are the subject of mainstream debate (thus the extent of free speech is viewed as something respectable to debate), some of which (like whether central bank digital currencies are designed to introduce a total surveillance state) … not.

That already is of mild interest. It’s good to explicitly take recognition of the fact that there are such groups in Ireland, and to note that they are, it seems, somewhat fringe.

But there’s more. Dublin wasn’t the only 20 May protest. Scrolling the site, you’ll come to this poster:

Following the url, you’ll come to this site:

And if you click through to event, you’ll see, for May 20, …. a lot!

Moreover, if we can trust this twitter account (I haven’t even had the smallest look to see if the footage is legit), it seems like there were in fact many events around the world on Saturday.

This is an interesting movement. Per the site’s about page:

This event does not have a demand. It’s a display of our collective strength, unity and readiness. All we ask is that you SHOW UP and help us display this powerful message…“WE ARE READY”

If we all truly believe that WE ARE READY, our fear and anxiety will disappear and we can start using our energy to prepare instead. Just because they are powerful, does not mean they will succeed! For their plan to work, we all have to step out of their way…which won’t happen!

This event aims to remind us that we are united under a common enemy…GLOBALISM. No matter who you are, which organization you represent or what your methods are…we can all agree that globalism is the ultimate issue we all face. Let’s use that to unite!

There is no management from the top. If you choose to host this event, you’re responsible for it. If you already have experience running events like this, great. However, if this is your first time, go for it! We all have to start somewhere.

Some groups are organising rallies, some are doing picnics and casual catch ups. Some are doing a swap meet or market…it’s really up to you. We suggest you collect email addresses on the day so you can create a local community who can support each other when/if things get tough. From then on, you can help to bring those people back together for casual catch ups or activism.

It doesn’t need to be expensive or fancy, just turn up with an empowering attitude…it will work! We will help with promotion, we have access to large international audiences. Be sure to send us a copy of your poster so we can add it to locations.”

If this is indeed true, incidentally, it’s worth noting that it’s unbelievably, massively, gigantically impressive. Anyone who has organized events knows that fighting entropy is difficult; to do so hand off, on such a scale, is pretty amazing and ought to be the object of study of whoever study social movements (I’m very curious about the ‘large international audiences’ they have access to, but didn’t immediately find anything interesting here.)

That said, can we say anything about where it originated? Well, we can take a look at the Telegram channel, but that doesn’t tell us too much. On this video the narrator seems to have an Australian accent, but that’s about it.

But we can do better. Take a look at:

This is an extract from a 250k record sheet I made of the right wing accounts on Telegram. The second from left is the poster; and the fourth from left is the account (if any) it is reposting. So the very top row indicates that on the date shown user ‘reignitefreedom’ reposted ‘wearereadyworld’ (the fact that the message shows as None is an idiosyncracy of the Telegram api: almost certainly that record is in fact recording that the user shared post id 512 which contained three pictures.)

‘Reignitefreedom’ takes us to this Telegram page; it also has a web page, and on the contact page is it lists Australia.

Finally, Reignite Freedom is controlled by an Australian (though again I won’t say who for no-doxxing reasons). Accordingly, the evidence seems pretty strong that We Are Ready is associated with Reignite Freedom and the latter is associated with Australia, and so I think we can make the call that the local WakeUpéiRe, as a sort of franchise of the Aussie-backed anti-globalist move is being influenced literally from across the globe!

And so, point one of this post: the perhaps ill-attended event in Dublin on Saturday is interconnected in a literally globe-spanning anti-globalization movement. Let’s move on to event two.

Hotel protests in the North

In Bangor, County Down, there have been protests outside the Marine court hotel in the town centre since, as far as I can tell, the start of March (some press). The reason for this is that the hotel is now occupied by refugees (in fact, it has been so since around March 2022; it’s unclear, but worth trying to work out, why protests have only started recently). Here’s their Facebook:

What about the group? In an open letter on Facebook they write:

We are not Racist; we are concerned residents.
The protestors are a diverse group of concerned residents, from North Down. We are hard working men and women, who want to know who the predominantly young men, staying at the two Hotels in Bangor are. We are not Racist; we are concerned residents.

I have two things to note. Scrolling down the page, you’ll come to this video. It is recorded, as you can verify by listening, by the channel’s owner, who is present in at least some of the photos on the Facebook page. And if we look through the videos on that 10k followers, 1,000,000 views Youtube page, we’ll see things like:

Lunekar reinstated, victory for free speech? then it is time to uncancel everyone else!
If Labour get in we are all for the Gulag….
Women in Islam

As well as some videos showing an association with Tommy Robinson. We can conclude that someone who attends and records these protests is connected with the English far right and its concerns and figures. As last week, it seems that events on the island are of great interest to people beyond it. We’ve found ourselves again starting from local events and very quickly finding ourselves in a different set of grievances.

One last thing, concerning again how localized these ‘North Down Concerned Residents’ are. Compare:

Yellow red black …. and yellow red black! Here’s a suggestion: the posters are made by the same person. The evidence is mainly the above, so visual. But we can add a tiny bit: on the site, we read about the ‘famous yellow boards’; here, we are told about their printer.

This only goes so far. But it is decent prima facie evidence that the North Down concerned residents, if they have one eye towards the UK, also have one eye southwards, yet again showing the central message I’ve been concentrating on about how local events are shaped and propagated by non-local concerns and people.