Far-Right Exploiting Covid Crisis to Extend Influence In Ireland

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Ireland has a high proportion of people researching far-right topics online, according to a new report.

There are calls for the government and social media companies to do more to tackle the problem.

More than 9,000 individual searches about far-right topics were made by Irish users between September last year and February this year.

That’s according to the study by London-based group Moonshot CVE.

It’s found almost twice as many clicks on far-right pages were made in Dublin compared to the rest of the country – Carlow and Longford were next per head of population.

Dr Lucy Michael, a member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, says those beliefs can spread quickly:

People are looking at these theories and saying where do I find out more? Once they find out one group that does it, they get taken into others again and again.”

Stephanie Hanlon is co-founder of Le Cheile – an alliance aimed at tackling the far right.

Le Cheile is calling on the government to recognise the growth of the far-right in Ireland – and to take action to address it.

She says there’s now a new pandemic of misinformation:

One of the things we’re seeing is far-right actors using public scepticism about public health restrictions, about lockdowns and masks to amplify far-right anti-establishment rhetoric.”