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Dublin Riots Reveal Public Frustrations With Policy
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Ryan Dulaney

Dec 15, 2023

Ireland is reeling from the riots in Dublin, sparked by a stabbing attack which left three adults and two children gravely injured. While the Irish government and establishment media are quick to label the protest which proceeded the riots as a 'far right outlash,' the reality is that there is a growing discontent with government policy regarding immigration and the housing crisis.

Ireland saw its first mob violence in decades in late November. Anti-immigration protests eventually grew into riots causing widespread carnage and even setting police cars ablaze.

It all began when news of an Algerian immigrant stabbing three adults and two children reached the public. The event occurred after years of frustration at rising costs of living, a housing crisis and a significant increase in violent crimes, all amidst mass immigration. The stabbing on November 23 seemed to break the camel's back. Protests were organized over social media, and when police arrived things had already descended into anarchy. 

Ireland is not accustomed to the politically motivated mob violence which has recently afflicted the Western world. Nations like the United States and France have for years struggled with this affliction. Polarization over issues such as police brutality, inequality, mass immigration and the cost of living have generated friction in many Western nations.

In 2020 the US and UK establishment media downplayed the destructive and violent nature of many Black Lives Matter demonstrations, deeming it justifiable frustration. In France, the nation is becoming divided over the effects of immigration policy, foreign policy and police brutality. Now, Ireland has caught up with the times.

It is not the inferior treatment of non-Irish immigrants which is causing inequality — rather, it’s the opposite. Citizens face a constant increase in the cost of living and housing, as well as a significant increase in violent crime. At the same time immigrants which, due to the quantity being let in, are largely unvetted, freely housed and are not required to work.

Since 2011, the Irish population has shrunk from composing 84.3 percent of the nation to 76.6 in 2022. Many working class citizens who are scraping by paycheck to paycheck are becoming disillusioned with the immigration policy. They perceive the government as caring more about appeasing the demands of the internationalist EU than those of the Irish people.    

When a depraved crime enters the Irish news cycle, much of the media intentionally avoids the question of whether an immigrant was the culprit. This is done because of concerns that it would incite hatred toward the immigrant population. This is certainly a valid concern, but it is often overextended: those who attempt to peacefully voice their disdain for the government’s poor immigration security are accused of hate speech. 

The murder of Ashling Murphy serves as a perfect example. The perpetrator was a convicted sex criminal in Slovakia. He was approved for asylum and eventually immigrated to Ireland. He then stabbed 23 year old Ashling Murphy in the neck eleven times and showed no remorse. He clearly was not vetted, had no job, and yet was provided housing by the government.

Murphy's boyfriend pointed this sad reality out in his victim impact statement during the hearing. He was immediately decried by establishment media and government officials for inciting hatred, and that part of his statement was left out of most publications. 

Instead of uplifting the voice of the victim’s family, who were themselves victims by proxy, the statement was politicized to prevent government criticism. This is the opposite effect of movements like Black Lives Matter in the US and UK, in which case criticism of the government policy was encouraged by the media, and opposition was condemned as hatred and ignorance.

The protests over Irish immigration policies has prompted the government in Dublin to label participants as part of the far right guilty of inciting hatred. This label shouldn’t be taken lightly. Hatred is always illogical and deplorable, especially when based on race or nationality.

However, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that a high rate of immigration during both a cost of living and housing crisis could set the stage for potential civil unrest. Dissatisfaction has nothing to do with nationality or race, but simply quality of life for the citizens of Ireland.

The motivation of the protestors has not been given a charitable portrayal in media. The roots of discontent do not lie in racism or even in virulent anti-immigration, but in basic economics. The average hard working citizen finds rising costs, and at the same time non-citizens being housed, not working and in part contributing to a rise in crime which in turn further affects the economy. The number of citizens concerned with immigration has doubled since 2021, up to 23% in a recent poll. If this isn’t addressed, there will be continued protest, unrest and political turmoil. 

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