Claire Murphy – Evening Herald
RIGHT wing British Nationalist Party is agitating for the establishment of an 'Irish National Party' and believes there are already like-minded groups in existence here. The leader of the anti-immigration lobby Nick Griffin has pencilled in a visit to Trinity College later this month. The BNP, which grew in popularity in the UK at the last election, claims that there is a "great deal of concern" in Ireland over the issue of immigration. Mr Griffin will speak at a controversial debate at the college entitled 'This house believes that immigration has gone too far', which has already drawn outrage from anti-racism groups. BNP representative Simon Darby spoke to The University Times editor Ronan Burtenshaw ahead of the contentious debate and refused to rule out the idea of a BNP rally in the future. "We are aware of the existence of a number of groups. But there simply isn't anything tangible there at the moment," he said.
"There is nothing I would like to see more than an Irish National Party representing the interests of the Irish people." On the BNP website, Mr Darby said that the reaction to the Dublin debate was akin to a "liberal fascist assault against free speech". The BNP has already established a strong presence in Northern Ireland but said that the idea of hosting a rally in Ireland was "another matter" that was best not confused with the debate. The Socialist Worker Student Society is campaigning against Nick Griffin's appearance and is organising a "protest against fascism" outside the college on October 20.
And the Union of Jewish Students urged Trinity College to "deny the BNP a platform". A representative for the Philosophical Society at TCD said that the organisation was established as "a neutral forum for discussion". "We do not endorse the views of any of our speakers. Nick Griffin has been invited to speak solely on immigration. He is a prominent speaker on this issue," they said. "The debate will be balanced with two guest speakers on each side of the motion."