39 mins ·
The National Party attempted to stand with a A Person concerned about immigration banner in Eyre Square this evening. "Ireland Belongs to the Irish" is what it read. Their leader Justin Barrett looked me square in the eye and said I wasn't Irish because I'm half-Pakistani.
Gerry Kinneavy who spoke at that meeting in Oughterard called me a Paki and said I'll never be Irish. I said they he had deliberately whipped up racial hatred in Oughterard with his words on that night and he said he was glad and he would do it again.
These are neo-nazis. They are fascists. They hate anyone who isn't like them. They hate Galway for being the most multicultural city in the country. They're here to stir up trouble in Oughterard tomorrow and to put people in harm's way at the GARN rally tomorrow.
Within seconds of them unfurling the banner they were challenged by passersby. I encouraged people passing to stand with us and block the banner. More and more did. Justin Barrett was milkshaked as he tried to explain his deep racial hatred for anyone who isn't white.
The people of Galway forced them to fold up their banner. More and more people came up to them to challenge them. Within 20 minutes there were 10-15 people blocking these 5 fascists. Ten minutes later there were almost 30 of us blocking them. As they folded up their A Person concerned about immigration banner young Galway people stood on it and said their racism wasn't welcome here.
A small number of us followed them to their cars. They had the audacity to park in the grounds of Galway City Council. A young man stood with us watching them - he'd never done anything like this before but as he said: "I'm born and raised in this city, some of my friends are not white, these racists are not welcome here."
I'm still processing all this. The level of A Person concerned about immigration abuse they aimed at me and some Canadians and Germans who stood with us was simply shocking. I'm honestly traumatised by it. The only thing keeping me going was the simply outstanding level of solidarity from people passing by who stood in the pouring rain with us. That's the real Galway.
They are here to infiltrate Oughterard tomorrow morning. They have already been active in Oughterard these past few weeks. I'm going to be honest here...the protest movement in Oughterard needs to be doing more to root these people out. I've had some amazing phone calls and conversations with people in Oughterard who support GARN's work but I'm still being told that within FB groups, FB pages and Twitter feeds, that the A Person concerned about immigration lies the National Party would support are still being said straight out or being sneakily regarded.
One last time...stand with the Galway Anti Racism Network tomorrow. I met people tonight who will be there because they saw with their own eyes what real racism is.
Noel Grealish, Fine Gael, the Department of Justice and the Reception and Integration Agency have created the environment for this hate to fester.
Asylum seekers are welcome in Galway. These fascists never will be