This is the first part of an undercover investigation into the tacit and sometimes overt support for antifascist harassment among elements of the Irish media and political class. We advise you to listen to all leaked audio and read all leaked data in full before reading the below article. All audio can be found on our Youtube. Audio has been edited in parts for legal reasons, as well as to protect the names of third parties.
Michelle Byrne is the Deputy President of the Union of Students Ireland (USI), as well as their Vice President for Campaigns. The Union of Students Ireland is Ireland’s largest student representative body representing short of 380,000 students nationwide. Past USI officials have included senior Irish government and media figures. According to her Facebook, she is also on the boards of Laochas – The Warrior Soul Project, Problem Gambling Ireland and the National Youth Council of Ireland. She also took part in the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government. Irish Students Against Fascism contacted her after the USI retweeted material from the ISAF Twitter account.
Linked is the edited recording of the first phone call our undercover journalists had with Deputy President Byrne. This conversation went over her activities with other Antifascist groups, from which she sent on information and training material from left wing events, as well as her other activities with a variety of left wing activist groups and journalists. She appeared to express complete support for Antifascist work in its entirety, as well as the work ISAF were willing to do. She also specifically suggested trying to gain access to Young Fine Gael meetings, saying that there were “proper fascists in there.”
Young Fine Gael’s Director of Campaigns and Policy Dylan Hutchinson, had the following to say about the leaks:
“It is horrifying that the deputy of the USI would want to monitor YFG meetings and would make these wild allegations. The USI need to condemn this.”
At the time of writing, Deputy President Byrne has not responded to our request for comment.
EDIT: The full video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F5exJg7bJQ&t=4s