Keep shutting down debate – and this is what happens
It managed to slip through the media cracks yesterday and with the rather more pressing matters of the elections at hand, that was not just understandable but correct. But the racist graffiti daubed on walls along the N7 yesterday were a timely reminder that they haven't gone away – nutters, bigots and racists, that is.
Brought to us by the same group that sprayed the Anglo building with paranoid, dribbling, anti-Semitism, the message was as clear and unlovely as you would expect: "Do you feel like a stranger in your own country?" went one, while another claimed that the Irish would be "A minority in their own country by 2050".
And, as ever, these brainiacs, who like to post on various racist websites, decided to include a corrupted St Brigid's cross, with a circle around it – because sometimes just using a good old Swastika might scare off the punters.
It's always hard to know whether to laugh or to growl when you see something like this. After all, the temptation to dismiss such stunts as the works of a few diseased minds also comes with the awareness that these gibbering cretins are flourishing in society's undergrowth – and we can thank the establishment for that.
Forget the claims from the various anti-racism charities and activist groups who say that we are a remarkably racist people. Because no organisation that relies on either public or State funding will ever admit that the problem isn't really a problem – they'd lose funding, they'd look daft and they'd be out of a job.
Look at today's elections, for example. How many openly racist or fascist candidates are standing? There might be a few cranks in your constituency but you won't see an Irish version of the BNP or France's National Front or, even a more horrifying prospect, Greece's Golden Dawn.
That's interesting, because you only have to look back at the likes of Eoin O'Duffy and his Blueshirts to see that the seeds of fascism are hardly new to this country, but they have simply never taken root. And for a country that has traditionally been insular and innately conservative, that makes us quite unusual.
That's not to say there aren't individuals or groups who are openly, avowedly racist and it is always amusing to see these proponents of white power preaching supremacy while looking as if they have barely reached the first rung of the evolutionary step ladder.
But as small in number as they may be, the more that immigration and the changing demography of Ireland are declared to be off limits, the more attractive these groups will become to anyone who resents being pilloried any time they say we should examine our borders and citizenship policy.
The terms 'racist' and 'racism' have been lobbed about the debate such with abandon that they have lost their meaning. In that process, the vast majority of people are sick of being portrayed as ignorant simpletons by hectoring, smug lobby groups who know that the fastest way to silence opposition is to start shrieking the 'R' word.
To be anything other than a vocal supporter of open borders and enforced multi-culturalism is, in their eyes, a thought crime which must be immediately denounced and punished. It's an easy slur to make and one which not only silences dissent but also manages to avoid the truth – the Irish are not racist, but the majority are certainly uncomfortable with dogmatic multi-culturalism.
That's not even necessarily borne from their own experiences – although local examples are plentiful – but merely as a result of looking at the rest of Europe sliding inexorably into racial and religious chaos.
Irish people are perfectly entitled to be wary of being the latest victims of the failed social experiment that was multi-culturalism and are rightly resentful when they are put in the same bracket as the losers responsible for the graffiti in Newlands Cross.
The great lie is that this is somehow a 'complex' issue. Actually, it's not. Because, like many things in life, the situation is rather more simple than the vested interests would have us believe. Immigration is of benefit to us all, but it has to be a qualified process where the immigrants are bringing something to the table. Access to this country should be based on a particular set of skills or trades or technical ability and not on often spurious claims of asylum or refugee status.
If you can't work and have never contributed any tax to the exchequer, we don't owe you anything and you shouldn't be here – no more than we have the right to go to any country we want and claim those same, unearned, benefits.
Similarly, there has to be a greater emphasis on this being an Irish, and crucially, a European culture which doesn't have to change to accommodate new visitors.
In fact, we need to say that the opposite is the case – we need to adopt a clear policy of 'our house, our rules' – and if you don't like the rules, go somewhere better suited to your beliefs.
That's not racist, that's common sense.
As long as the mainstream response to anyone who raises issues – such as the Burka, the Roma, faith schools or the disgusting practice of Halal slaughter – is to start squawking with outrage and accusing ordinary people of being bigots, then there will be always be ample opportunity for the real fascists to exploit anger and resentment.
Openly racist Irish groups should be stamped on and stamped on hard and not just by the authorities – if the rest of us start to have a proper discussion about these social and cultural issues, then there's no constituency left to which the bigots can appeal.
Or we could simply keep on keeping on in our own Irish way – and wallow in flatutudes like 'No free speech for fascists' rather than accept these are topics which need to be discussed – and the sooner the better.