This is the latest 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.
Galway Anti Racism Network (GARN) is a crossparty anti-racist initiate active in the county, mobilising against what they believe to be the far-right. A vocal progressive voice in the city, the group is arguably the most active anti-racist network in Ireland. The organisation is often present at a variety of demonstrations annually and in lobbying local officials against deportation orders and for hate speech laws.
The group was embroiled in controversy however this year owing to the actions of their founder, Joe Loughnane, in relation to an alleged altercation with a female activist resulting in a visible schism in the Irish left over the wider issues of misogyny.
The actions of Mr Loughnane resulted in his dismissal by his political party, People Before Profit, who he was standing in the recent election for, along with large-scale public denouncement on the day of the vote. Joe Loughnane had before this noted incident been recorded stating that he ‘sorted a lot of drugs for a lot of people in this city’, as reported by Gript.ie. This past month has seen a very clear distancing by elements of the Galway left from GARN as a result.
In addition GARN and Loughnane in particular had previously been active in what could only be described as low level harassment against individuals and businesses associated with right wing activity.
The group describes itself as an affiliate of INAR, (Irish Network Against Racism) formerly known as ENAR Ireland one of the country’s more influencial and monied anti-racist organisations. Staffed by members of the hard left, it has raised considerable eyebrows among rightist circles due to its media and lobbying access as well funding streams from Ireland and abroad.
Our reporters made contact with Jessica Reid, a Canadian expat living in Galway who now does work within GARN about the organisation’s current operations.
During the conversation, Ms Reid described the activities of the organisation and their mobilisations, as well as their contact base within local media and academia.
While denying that Loughnane has had anything to do with GARN after his fall from grace, Ms Reid described Loughnane as having a ‘temper’, though denied that there was any reason to believe that Loughnane would do what he was later accused of.
Ms Reid then went into detail about how GARN applied pressure on local businesses. Specifically listed was the organization’s role in getting musician Brendan Keane deplatformed from a gig in Galway for his alleged views on immigration. She also discussed how GARN alongside a number of other organizations worked on obtaining signatures for INAR’s ‘Love not Hate’ petition for hatecrime legislation.
Ms Reid went on to discuss a number of members of the ‘far-right’ that she believed @IrishAntifa should be aware of. The first of note was Tracey O’Mahony, with Ms Reid expressing worry about how she is able to put on a ‘polite, public face,’ and as such is able to engage with and convince ordinary people of her views. In more general terms, Ms Reid described GARN’s ‘greatest fear’ as ‘the guys that can appeal to the mainstream’.
Ms Reid also described how those within GARN were ‘horrified’ by Noel Grealish TD’s reelection with an increased percentage of first preference votes. She also described Peadar Toibín’s new party Aontú as ‘far-right’, for reasons that are entirely unclear to this publication.
The Burkean approached Jessica Reid for comment, but one was not provided.
The recording of the conversation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtP1yQmrlLQ&feature=youtu.be