The left-wing activist who led a charge of racism against Galway TD Noel Grealish has a record of abusive behaviour, including the use of racially charged slurs, and telling people to take their own lives, Gript can report. The Chairman of the Galway Anti-Racism Network [GARN], Joseph ‘Joe’ Loughnane repeatedly harassed and targeted another man on facebook, screenshots provided to Gript show.
The screenshots show Mr Loughnane calling another man ‘a piece of vermin’ and a ‘tan’, before telling him “fuck yourself in the river there. Slit your wrists”, and “a rope and a brick mate, do the world a favour.”
Mr Loughnane then moves on to discuss the man’s family and how the man’s child might grow up better “without a Dad” before saying “Keep that look over your shoulder. Every day. Not just for you” and that Mr Loughnane had “no family to worry about lad, you do.”
In the screenshots Mr Loughnane claims the man had made racial comments about Mr Loughnane’s skin tone and about Muslims, but these comments are not shown in the screenshots available.
Recently Mr Loughnane has appeared prominently in Irish media for his role in reporting comments made by TD Noel Grealish at a public meeting in Oughterard. However, Mr Loughnane has been regularly quoted by mainstream Irish media over the years, particularly in relation to racial affairs, and he has previously been profiled in the Irish Independent on his experiences of everyday racism. He has also written for the Journal.ie.
He is perhaps best known for his role in GARN but this isn’t the first time that Mr Loughnane has sparked controversy for his behaviour. In 2013 he appeared in court in relation to two counts of assault against members of the Gardai. He was later ordered to pay €1,400 to the Gardai involved in lieu of a conviction, a sum of money which he crowdfunded.
When contacted Mr Loughnane said he had no recollection of being charged with assault, saying that he had lived ‘a very boring life’. However, we later found mention of the assault on a blog that had been run by Mr Loughnane, which he had previously deleted. One post, which named Mr Loughnane as the author of the blog, discussed the charges and asked the public for money to pay the court fine. We were also able to link an email address used in that financial appeal directly to Mr Loughnane.
Mr Loughnane again came to public attention in 2014 after a video showed him and a number of other people disrupting a speech by Professor Alan Johnson. Mr Loughnane can be seen, and heard, in the video shouting “Get the fuck off our fucking campus, you fucking piece of shit” and calling the Professor a ‘fucking Zionist, fucking Brit.”
Professor Johnson, a prominent socialist intellectual, was attempting to give a speech titled ‘Solidarity not Boycotts: the progressive case against boycotting Israel’ which opened, “I speak as a friend of Israel, a friend of Palestine, and a friend of peace. I am not Jewish. I am a democratic socialist.”
Mr Loughnane has also previously worked with CAGE in the UK, whose outreach director Moazzam Begg, a former prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, was described as ‘Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban’ by Gita Sahgal, then head of Amnesty International’s gender unit. Amnesty International later broke off all engagement with CAGE saying that “Recent comments made by Cage representatives have been completely unacceptable, at odds with human rights principles…the refusal of a Cage spokesperson to condemn violence such as FGM and stoning is of huge concern to Amnesty and has made any future platform sharing with Cage impossible.”
CAGE are also widely known for the support their representatives have shown for Sharia law, the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, and the repeated refusal of their Research Director to condemn: the stoning-to-death of adulterous women; the idea that homosexuality is evil; and the idea that Jews are descended from pigs.
We reached out to Mr Loughnane for comment, and to offer him a chance to provide context for the screenshots, but he didn’t wish to comment on the matter, saying that he was unaware of the screenshots but presumed they related to an incidence of racial abuse which he had reported to the Gardai. He declined an offer to be sent the screenshots.
We also reached out to both GARN, and the European Network against Racism Ireland [ENAR], which GARN are members of. We received no response from GARN whilst ENAR said they had no response at that time as they had been unaware of the issues in this piece until we had contacted them. No further response has been received from ENAR since that point.