You can tell there’s something very fishy in the state of Ireland when all of the official soap boxes are bringing on the consultant class to condemn the “far-right” East Wall.
So who are these shady people undermining our very democracy, and why is it that they’ve all descended on East Wall? I decided to go down and find out.
We are frequently told that this “far-right” enigma has a transgressive and powerful presence, and one would believe from the fighting talk coming from the establishment that they are of equal might to the political and media institutions.
The epicenter, it seems, of this powerful conspiracy is the seemingly non-opulent neighbourhood of East Wall, a remnant of old Dublin’s docklands, surrounded by Port roads and city centre bypass roads. I went down last week to see exactly what master conspirators look like, and found out that this network of underminers of democracy and the very soul of the country were disappointingly ordinary and varied.
Everyone I spoke to at the protest lived in East Wall. Some had come from families that had lived there for generations, some had recently moved in. Some were not born in Ireland.
Some were decidedly left wing in their previous voting patterns and they were most perplexed by how the protest was labeled “far-right”. It led one woman to ask the question that comes fast for people who have been smeared by the media. “Can you believe anything the media tell us. What else are they lying about?” she asked.
How to answer such a question?
The protest tactic developed by the locals is to walk around the roads that ring East Wall and stop at the intersections causing traffic delays. During these stops I talked with various people about why they were there.
Amongst the protestors were a number of recent immigrants from Eastern Europe. “The system is broken” one told me. “Why can’t these applications be processed quicker? It should only take a few weeks and then people should be accepted and allowed to work, or apply for a permit.”
I asked him about the term “far-right”. “It is dangerous to go too far in any direction” he said. “The ‘far-left’ killed millions in my country. I don’t think this is far-right.”
Various protestors told me that their concern was that 400 people were pressed into a small space which couldn’t accommodate them, and that that was causing social problems, including violence, not just in the accommodation, but that that was spilling onto the streets as well.
Other people expressed concern that all of a sudden there was a huge number of “unvetted” young men set down amongst them.
Both of these concerns should not be summarily dismissed, as much as some would like to contextualize the whole reaction as simple xenophobia. That is a caricatured explanation which doesn’t even scratch the surface of some of the realities of resources and rentseeking which underlie this problem.
On Twitter it’s easy to post low-cost virtue signaling hashtags that Ireland is not full. Ireland isn’t full, that’s true, but there is certainly a severe shortage of essential resources to accommodate a large influx of people. In Ireland we are closing down hospitals, have a million on waiting lists waiting for hospital appointments, and will spend 300% of the original estimate to build a children’s hospital.
What is happening in our health system is symptomatic of the management of the rest of the country. Ireland may not be full, but it has a severe mismanagement problem, meaning it is operating way beyond the capacity of its resources. Is this all just unfortunate incompetency or does this massive ineptitude benefit any particular people? Cui bono?
Obviously, whoever owns the title to the ESB building in East Wall benefits from this new circumstance. All of a sudden an empty property with overheads and possibly an unpaid debt is earning an income. Who would have bargained on that windfall?
Indeed inward migration is fast becoming one of the crutches of Irish real estate – a property market that is grossly inflated beyond its true value.
With a constant shortfall in new stock, and a pressing need to house an expanding population (expanding mostly because of immigration) there is only one way for rents and property prices in Ireland to go. If you are a young person buying a house you shouldn’t like this, but the investor class love this. Everyone from local property tycoons to massive international vulture funds are making hay while the sun shines.
The immigrants who are brought here as low-income workers are not benefitting in the same way, obviously. In this they have a lot in common with the East Wall residents I talked to, some of whom were quite aware of the relationship between government bidding on the rental market and the cost of rent and mortgages to young working class people.
Separately, I talked to a South American friend who has been working on minimum wage, in the hospitality and food sector for three years, while studying in Dublin. He pays €800 a month to share a room in a house which accommodates seven other people. He had a less than favourable view of people who he thought were free-riding.
That’s the thinly concealed secret of the immigration lobby. Middle-class consumers want cheap, low-paid nannies, cleaners, carers, and restaurant servers – while rich property investors want accommodation scarcity and all the profits it generates.
All that aside, it has been noticed that some of the refugee applicants in Ireland are coming from places in which there has been no war in 20 years and they are being saddled on a community which can’t integrate them into the community, and doesn’t have the resources to accommodate them.
This has social implications which are obvious, and the people who pretend that you can just dump large groups of young men in the middle of some community and there won’t be any social problems, are delusional – or maybe, more likely, they just don’t care about the locals in East Wall. They are, after all, mostly ordinary people who can’t afford to live in Sandymount, which makes them an acceptable target for the kind of criticism the critics would never dare utter against any other group of people.
There is a consistent utopian and intolerant theme in the leftist argument which is based on a Rousseaun view of the “noble other”. It’s a fairly idiotic worldview that presumes that people from the “undeveloped” world are saintlier and purer than those whose ancestors were born in the evil west. It presumes that people from other parts of the world aren’t just as inclined towards the same vices, depravities, and nobilities, as people from Ireland are.
This is of course one of the great paradoxes of the leftist worldview which continuously goes unaddressed.
So using this logic: Is it ok to ask have these men been “vetted;” a cry that was heard from the East Wall protestors on the first day of their protest. Absolutely not say the NGO activists, all immigrants are decent and saintly. This is a weak and illogical argument.
But back to my South American friend who is working a minimum wage job and paying €800 a month to share a room in a house with 8 people in it.
He did not like the idea that hundreds of people coming from countries without war are getting free accommodation while he was paying such an exorbitant price. This brings me back to the point of the very different, pro-immigration views of large property-owners in Ireland. (I say large, by the way, because it is the experience of many people that small landlords – people who let out one or two houses – are far more likely to be decent with tenants, but they have mostly now been hounded out of the market.)
It’s worth repeating that the people most delighted about this whole crisis are big landlords; are people looking for cheap labor; are middle class people looking for nannies; and businesses who rely on a constant flow of labor to support the low income economy.
There is no way out of the low income economy for the gig economy cleaner or deliveroo cyclist from Brazil you see cycling around Ireland’s towns. What becomes clear from just observing how people in the low income economy are treated is that the “new Irish”, as they are called, once given citizenship, are likely to become part of the “far-right” and the new deplorables. No longer part of the deserving poor they will be subject to the same vitriol as the working class of East Wall, who the “better people” say are only mad because they think the immigrants will “steal their welfare.”
Yes the new upper-class leftist woke are as supercilious and sniffy as stiff shirt Victorian when it comes to their distaste for the poor and the working class. But the people of East Wall are persevering. All credit to them for their backbone.