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With TCD’s Phil Society debating whether or not to re-invite Nick Griffin back to Trinity, let’s take a look back at some previous attempts to bring him onto Irish university campuses and why a No Platform policy is not the same as being against freedom of speech.

It came to my attention today that The illustrious Phil of Trinity College Dublin had a motion last week entitled “This house would re-invite Nick Griffin”, I presume to ‘debate’ (read as espouse racist hate speech under the thin veil of standing up for the good, decent working class people of Britain) immigration reform and/or free speech, while the debating students of the Phil look very open minded and liberal while cracking some witty remarks at his expense and using logical debate. All the while they have stood up for free speech by letting a racist in a suit talk shite. End of the night the students can go home safe in the knowledge that democracy is the best system we have and anyone who would deny Griffin his speaking writes are no worse than the fascists themselves. Sure who really listens to him anyway?

 

The Phil Society's flier for the Griffin motion

The Phil Society’s flier for the Griffin motion

I know. The sheer thought that we potentially have to go through all this again after two years and two colleges inviting Griffin (UCC being the other) has me holding my head in my hands and weeping into my copy of Rabble magazine as well. Unfortunately, as Aidan Rowe stated in an open letter to the Phil Society in the wake of the last attempted visit:

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– Joseph Loughnane on the rise in discrimination in Ireland during the recession. (Originally posted on the Irish Left Review)

Over the past month we have seen numerous racist and discriminatory statements made in both Council meetings and Courts across Ireland. What they amounted to was public representatives as well as a judge using either racist slang or making racist statements in the course of their work. These statements were largely brushed under the carpet by the media despite the long term effects they have on the oppressed groups they targeted. A statement by a Fianna Fail senator that he would not get into a taxi driven by an “obvious” non-national resonates quite closely with problems with racism in Galway city.

Despite numerous letters to the local media as well as reports categorically confirming that racism against African taxi drivers is rife in the city, the practice continues with more and more non-national drivers reporting incidents of aggravated racial assault and abuse, to the effect now that these men and women see it as normal for them receive racism on a daily basis. Comments by this Senator only serve to cement such prejudice and make the day-to-day living of an African taxi driver that bit harder.

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