Another day, another seminar on the far right, or so the phrase goes. “StopFarRight” (kudos on the name) is a series of seminars designed to bring about “discussion and debate between academics and civil society groups on how best to counter-strategise against the growth of the far right in Ireland.”
For anyone who has not been keeping up to date with how the series has progressed, we are on the fifth seminar in the series and we were graced this time with the dregs of the NGO-left. Shane O’Curry chaired the session that included Mark Malone of half a dozen NGOs, Theresa O’Donohoe of ClimateCare, and Sarah Clancy of the Clare Public Participation Network.
The group covered little enough throughout their spiels, with one saying they had ‘no clue about fascism’ until Malone’s five-minute intro of ‘high-level analysis’ which consisted of regurgitating materialism, calling the Irish nation an imaginary thing, and saying the ‘far right is a spectrum’. That was the only part which could be considered quasi-intellectual, and that is being exceedingly generous. The other two speakers were Theresa O’Donohoe and Sarah Clancy, both of whom were exceptionally boring —regaling us with their credentials. O’Donohoe being a climate alarmist with a “MSc in Climate Change”, who discovered the far right when locals opposed a Direct Provision centre in rural Ireland were backed by nationalists. I am not quite sure what Clancy’s background is because she was so low energy I skipped through her intro.
The only part of the seminar which could be described as high-energy is around forty-five minutes in, when Mark Malone gets quite agitated and complains about how the far right are successfully ‘deliberately trying to re-categorise civil society and campaign groups as being adjuncts of the State’. Malone (hilariously, given what he peddles) describes this as being ‘deeply abhorrent’ and ‘bad faith’ on an intellectual level, and rhetorically asks ‘who are the actors involved in re-categorising civil society organisations as being adjuncts of the State?’ Malone goes on to say that it is the ‘Christian hard-right’ doing this and that he ‘knows the publications and knows the actors.’
One can only draw the conclusion that Malone is referencing the works of both Gript and ourselves in following the money of their organisations.
It’s worth taking the time to answer the unasked question —why has this strategy been successful? Well, because it’s true. Of the four people on that panel, three of them are directly funded by the Irish State, and the last works for a company whose clients include foreign State agencies and three national governments.
Shane O’Curry and INAR received €75,000 (around 70% of their total income) from the Irish State. Sarah Clancy and the ‘Clare Public Participation Network’ received €110,000 from the State (nearly 100% of their total income). It is interesting to note that Shane O’Curry utters the phrase ‘I’m talking about Gript, or grift as I like to call them.’ Glass houses and all that.
Malone’s state of agitation becomes understandable when you understand the sums of money given to groups he is involved with:
- Comhlámh received at least €450,000 from the State, and potentially higher amounts, given a further €100,000 came from other State-funded NGOs and the European Commission. This gives a minimum of nearly 70% of income being State-derived, with the European Commission making up another 10% and other NGOs making up another 5%.
- The Far Right Observatory (of which he and Niamh McDonald are the public faces) received at least €200,000 in State and corporate philanthropic funding to create ‘two paid jobs’. No prizes for anyone figuring out the mathematics on that one. Given that the organisation is technically anonymous, we have no estimate for their income, but one can imagine that the trend of between 70% and 100% of their income coming from the State would hold up.
Of particular note was a contribution made by one member of the panel about fifty-seven minutes in, where Sarah Clancy says: “I know Mark has been in that situation (…) say my board of management, say they thought there was substance to this or there was something going on, I would’ve been in a different circumstance, so they were trying to threaten my livelihood (…) they have got better at these things since.” No wonder Mark was getting agitated!
The last individual on the panel, Theresa O’Donohoe works for ClimateCare whose clients, unsurprisingly, include State bodies like the ‘Swedish Energy Agency,’ the governments of Norway, South Sudan, and Kenya.
Why would anyone think left activists are adjuncts of the regime? Clearly they are just misunderstood.