Photo credit: Houses of the Oireachtas

How the Irish government weaponises migration like Giorgia Meloni

Last year, Florida’s conservative Governor Ron DeSantis sent his supporters into cheers of delight, and his liberal opponents into spasms of rage, all in one fell swoop, simply by giving his enemies what they always claim to want; namely, mass immigration.

DeSantis, being a conservative, is well known for believing in more restrictive migration policies, and wanting to shore up America’s southern border to prevent illegal immigration. And because he advocates for these sorts of common sense restrictions, he has naturally fallen afoul of American liberals, who seem to live by the motto “If it moves, it’s racist.”

And so, DeSantis called their bluff. If not wanting an unlimited torrent of unvetted illegal immigrants to enter your neighbourhood is “racist,” then DeSantis was going to help cure his liberal friends of their own racism. And he did this by sending plane loads of illegal South American immigrants into the overwhelmingly white, wealthy and liberal neighbourhood of Martha’s Vinyard, to thoroughly enrich the place.

In other words, he gave those who advocate for mass immigration a taste of their own medicine. He airdropped the consequences of their policies crashing onto their own front doorsteps.

And believe it or not, they weren’t actually happy about it (if you can imagine that). In fact, they went ballistic.

The point being made with this move – which DeSantis dubbed a “protest” – was obvious. He was, in spectacular fashion, exposing liberal hypocrisy, and proving that they weren’t willing to put their money where their mouths were when push came to shove. It turns out that saying you want open borders is one thing, but living with the consequences of open borders, as poorer people often have to, is quite another.

And by freaking out the way they did, affluent American liberals definitively proved that they expect everyone else to live under a situation that they themselves would not tolerate for more than 24 hours when it came to their own areas.

It was, in short, a stroke of genius, and a prime example of punishing your political opponents.

Smash cut to 2023, and now Italy’s conservative Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has apparently taken a leaf out of DeSantis’ book, sending large numbers of migrants to cities run by Leftwing liberal mayors – no doubt for the same reasons.

On a much smaller scale, this strategy was employed in Ireland by a group of unknown pranksters in 2019, who created a very realistic looking banner featuring then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in his own constituency of Dublin West, saying “Castleknock Welcomes Direct Provision Centre.”

This location was no doubt chosen because it is both an affluent suburb, and Leo Varadkar’s home turf.

Responding to the incident, local Fine Gael Councillor Ted Leddy assured residents that “we did not put this up,” blaming it on a “small right wing anti-immigrant group who are trying to smear Leo Varadkar.”

He added: “There is no direct provision centre going into Castleknock, or anywhere in Dublin 15.”

As amusing as some might find this escapade (and let’s face it: it is very funny), it does point to an oft-repeated reality: the government seems far more eager to airdrop asylum centres into more working class areas like East Wall, compared to a middle class or rich area like, say, Dalkey.

But what some might not have noticed about this is the fact that, as all statistics and polling shows, working class areas are far more likely to support Sinn Féin – not the government.

East Wall, after all, is in the Dublin Central constituency, which is where Mary Lou McDonald has her seat. And these asylum protests have rightly snookered Sinn Féin since they began, forcing them into an awkward position of having to either condemn mass immigration and lose their middle class liberal base, or support mass immigration and alienate their blue collar base.

We can see who benefits from all this, and we can see clearly who these policies cause the most problems for.

What this looks like, then, is less merely a case of wealthy liberals wanting to foist the consequences of their policies off on poorer people (though no doubt there’s some of that going on). It appears as though the government is weaponising migration, and using it as a stick to beat their political opponents with – just like Georgia Meloni and Ron DeSantis (except this time at the expense of less well-off people, rather than the elite of the elite).

And yet the government would have you believe that they are sweet, innocent liberal cherubs, in stark contrast to the evil villainy of the Melonis and DeSantis-types of this world – all while engaging in the same sorts of opportunistic goal scoring and political manoeuvring.

The next time the government goes to condemn one of these rightwing immigration sceptic leaders in Europe or further afield, be sure to remind them that they, too, engage in the same tactics, and have weaponised Ireland’s asylum policy to their own ends. Because that is exactly what we’re witnessing.

 

 

 

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