Tuesday 22 August 2017

Kevin Myers: 'TCD denies free speech to right-wing speakers'

Dear me. 2012 was only two days old when I rejected my first invitation of the year. It was to speak at the Hist, at Trinity College Dublin, on the subject of "freedom of speech". I am grateful to the nice people of the Hist for their kindness, but let me make it clear. Speaking about freedom of speech at a place like Trinity is like discussing virginity in a brothel.

It shouldn't be necessary to explain what free speech is, but it clearly is. At bottom, it is allowing someone, whose opinions you absolutely detest, to speak about those opinions in respectful silence, without their being barracked, abused, howled down or threatened with violence.

Yet far from being in the forefront of a campaign for free speech, TCD has been denying freedom of speech to "right-wing" speakers for some considerable time: most notoriously, and most frequently, the historian David Irving, but more recently the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin.

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