Gardai close in on group targeting Shatter with anti-Semitic posters
GARDAI have identified members of a far-right extremist group responsible for offensive anti-Semitic posters targeting Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
The Irish Independent can reveal that members of the racist gang are being investigated under the Prohibition of Incitement To Hatred Act after the posters were placed on the Sugar Hill Bridge, near Barnagh in West Limerick, three weeks ago. Detectives plan to swoop on the race-hate group.
One of the posters specifically mentioned Justice Minister Alan Shatter – the only Jewish TD in the Dail – with the racial slur.
Apart from the anti-Jewish content, other posters attacked "corrupt" politicians, the main political parties, the property tax and the Budget.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and local Fine Gael TDs Dan Neville and Patrick O'Donovan were also singled out for hate-filled abuse.
Mr Shatter condemned the message on the posters as not simply offensive to him but to all Jewish people living in the country and said they illustrated the growing problem of race-hate crime in the EU.
He said: "These posters were not only offensive to me but to all the Jewish people living in Ireland. We have seen the results of anti-Semitism in Europe in the past and no one wants to go back to that again."
He added: "There are some – and I emphasise some – who also use the Palestinian cause as a flag of convenience for anti-Semitism."
Limerick TD and junior Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan has also condemned the poster campaign as completely unacceptable. She labelled those responsible as "racist, ignorant and offensive".
One poster said: "Jewish influence in our dictatorship has brought Palestinian devastation to Ireland."
Another, under a picture of Mr Shatter, declared: "Ye will all be as poor as the Palestinians when we are finished and be glad to have €5 a day."
The Irish Independent has learnt that the officer in charge of the Limerick Division, Chief Supt Dave Sheehan, ordered an investigation into the origins of the posters, which were taken down on November 2.
It is understood that detectives have identified a number of individuals from the Newcastle West area and that their investigation is at an "advanced stage".
The people concerned have been involved in efforts to incite racism.
A security source told the Irish Independent: "These people all share a hatred for anyone living in Ireland who is not Irish. They are also extremely anti-Semitic and don't seem to care that the Mr Shatter is actually an Irishman born and bred."
Local election candidate, Christy Kelly, who is campaigning on behalf of a group called Citizens Against Austerity, has already publicly revealed that he knows who put up the posters and has asked him to remove them.
"I am not putting up the stuff. It is there. Of course it isn't appropriate but I can't account for what anybody else does," he told the 'Limerick Leader' newspaper.
Mr Kelly said he had sympathy with the views expressed on some of the other posters on the bridge about the way the country was being run.