There is no doubt but that the large protests against the Government’s proposals to pass legislation requiring people to provide proof that they have been vaccinated in order to access some services, caught the establishment by surprise.
Some of the biggest crowds of any protest in Covid times turned out at both the Convention Centre where the Dáil vote on the legislation took place, and on the following night in the Phoenix Park to call on President Michael D. Higgins not to sign the Bill into law.
The political parties are being made rapidly aware of growing disquiet on the ground regarding the Covid-19 restrictions. This has finally pushed the left parties, who until now have been staunch supporters of not only the Lockdown, but of more extreme restrictions, to vote against what critics call the ‘Vaccine Discrimination Law’.
Sinn Féin managed to avoid calling for an end to the restrictions in their entirety, and the far-left stated that they thought there ought to be no re-opening, but agreed if there were there ought to be no discrimination against those unvaccinated.
The size of the crowds, and the fact that a number may have travelled from outside of Dublin, made some suspect that Sinn Féin had had a part in organising them. This is what they did in 2015 for the biggest water charges protest at Leinster House, when they needed to try to take control of something that the party bosses feared would cost them votes.
However, the subsequent reaction to last week’s protests would indicate that the left was shaken by the very fact that these were, to a great extent, spontaneous demonstrations. Those whose role it seems to be to raise bogeymen were entirely opposed to the notion that such spontaneity is possible.
Instead, they turn to an old reliable, claiming that the whole thing had been organised by the “far right.”
Given that the main focus of the left’s claim of far-right manipulation is a party that stood a candidate in the previous week’s Dublin Bay South bye-election who received an extremely small vote, it would take a great leap of the imagination to assume that six day’s later they were able to summon thousands of people onto the streets.
There have of course been groups that have consistently opposed the lockdown and have organised occasional protests, but the numbers at the Convention Centre and Phoenix Park were bigger than anything previously mobilised at short notice. It is also apparent that one of the groups who have been organising protests – the Irish equivalent of the French Yellow Vests – is far from being “far right.”
When one of those most associated with the Yellow Vests, Ben Gilroy, ran for election in 2019, he highlighted excessive mortgage charges, evictions, hospitals, and other issues that most would consider conventionally “left” in economic terms. That of course would only be true if most of the left did not spend all is time obsessing about “cultural” identity issues around gender, race, and sexuality – issues that have little to do with the day to day concerns of the vast majority of people.
If you delve deeper into the allegedly disinterested concern of “extremist experts” like Aoife Gallagher, whose tweet above made claims of far-right agitators stoking fears, it is clear that she and her employers may be more than neutral observers.
Gallagher was previously recorded seeming to agree to help what she thought was a student antifa group seeking to build a database of nefarious targets such as Young Fine Gael. On the recording she discussed those with anti-immigration and pro-life views, “conspiracy theorists”, and the far-right.
Gallagher does not even object to the protests or indeed to opposition to the vaccination certs themselves, but to the fact that the left is not setting the agenda. That is apparent from her exchanges with communist TD Paul Murphy and others.
To even describe Gallagher and others, who are part of the media Star Chamber that seeks to censor and direct public discourse, as conventionally left is problematic. Like most Irish left activists, she is a member of a class of people who are either directly dependent on the state, or whose employers rely on lucrative state contracts and supports. The ISD, which is of course a charity, has not, according to the Charity Commission of England and Wales, received any donations from the public since 2017.
As we described previously, Gallagher once worked for Storyful which is owned by mega-wealthy media baron, Rupert Murdoch, through his News Corporation. She is currently, along with other alarmists about the “far right”, part of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (the ISD), an outfit much-loved and oft-quoted by the Irish media.
It goes without saying that the ISD, though repeatedly describing itself as “independent”, is funded by a long list of all the usual suspects, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society, the European Commission and the British Foreign Office. There’s no shortage of cash for seeking out the scary righties under the bed.
The ISD was spawned by the Club of Three which promoted EU centralisation, and until 2016 was operated through the Trialogue Educational Trust.
One of its trustees was Michael MacLay who was formerly of the British Foreign Office and then became a director of secretive private intelligence group Hakluyt, which employed the services of former British intelligence officers and was found to have had infiltrated environmental activist groups
Private entities such as the Institute for Strategic Dialogue with a massive global reach and deep elite connections are another key part of that nexus, and evidently close to the official state. Among the ISD board members is Lord Adair of Turner, the former Director of the British Confederation of Industry. Another is Professor Roland Berger, founder of one of the five biggest consultancy firms on the planet. He has close connections with the European political elite and has served on bodies appointed by the European Commission.
I could go on. What emerges from all of that is the fact that there seems to be a very blurred line between state intelligence agencies, private companies staffed by former intelligence operatives, and corporate media entities with a track record of promoting the “research” provided to them by the former.
It should also be noted that all of the above have one consistent focus, and that is on protecting the interests of the state, major corporations and those perceived to be best trusted to do that protecting. In the cases of Britain, the United States and elsewhere, that is evident in the close and unhealthy relationship between the major state and corporate media outlets and the intelligence services. The increasing questioning of the political and media role of the FBI in America is one case in point.
Most of all, there is an obvious irony in entities such as the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, who are funded and supported by captains of industry and by the establishment, giving themselves the authority to label working class Irish people as “far right” when they gather to oppose government policy. If those who are genuinely of the left do not see that, then seriously, you are beyond any help.