Politicians united in oppositionto Barrett
LOCAL politicians have hit out at fascist MEP candidate Justin Barretts decision to set up base in Drogheda, claiming he is trying to stir up and exploit anti-immigration feelings.Mr Barrett, who is a vociferous campaigner for strict immigration legislation, has decided to run his election campaign for the European Parliament from The Kiosk on Narrow West St
LOCAL politicians have hit out at ‘fascist’ MEP candidate Justin Barrett’s decision to set up base in Drogheda, claiming he is trying to stir up and exploit anti-immigration feelings.
Mr Barrett, who is a vociferous campaigner for strict immigration legislation, has decided to run his election campaign for the European Parliament from The Kiosk on Narrow West Street.
Drogheda TD Fergus O’Dowd insisted there was ‘no place’ for somebody of the Corkman’s record in Irish politics.
‘We live in a democratic society and everyone has the right to contest the elections. However, in my view, there is no place for a fascist like Barrett, who has admitted attending neo Nazi rallies,’ said Deputy O’Dowd.
Justin Barrett, however, defended his decision to run his campaign from Drogheda and denied that it was based on the large influx of non nationals to the area in recent years.
‘This is just a knee-jerk reaction to my candidature. Everyone who has a point of view is entitled to express it. They have interpreted me as racist, ignoring the valid points I am making even though they are all hearing it themselves on their own doorsteps. The only response they have to anyone who puts his head up on the immigration issue is to accuse him of being racist,’ he said.
He said that Drogheda was not a ‘hot bed’ of racism but said there was a strong support in the town for his policies.
Angered by his presence on the ballot, local politicians united in their opposition to Mr Barrett’s policies.
‘I believe the people of Drogheda will be very fair minded and I cannot see them giving support to him. His record is abominable,’ said Deputy O’Dowd.
Gerald Nash, Labour councillor with both Louth County Council and Drogheda Borough Council, agreed that Mr Barrett’s policies were at odds with the vast majority of views in the town.
‘It is clear that he is contesting this election purely on an anti-immigration ticket. It may be time that we had a debate on the issue but the intervention of Justin Barrett has not helped matters,’ said Cllr Nash.
‘In his literature he accuses the tax system of forcing mothers into the workplace. It shows he has a very narrow view of the place of women in society, believing that they should be staying at home. It is a viewpoint I find personally disturbing and out of date in today’s society.
‘He has very strong links with Germany and neo-fascist parties over there. He would prefer us to be an isolationist society at the edge of Europe as we were 40 years ago.’
Fianna Fáil councillor Tommy Murphy, who himself has slammed his own party for failing to restrict the number of asylum seekers coming into the country, said he could not agree with any of Justin Barrett’s policies.
‘I suppose he will always get some support but it certainly won’t be massive. We have moved on as a society from the kinds of views that he espouses,’ said Cllr Murphy.