The Workers’ Party have called for Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to withdraw his comments that left-wing groups were associated with today’s Grafton Street anti-lockdown protest, unless he is able to provide further detail about which groups attended.

Workers’ Party representative Éilis Ryan said:

“Today’s demonstrations on Grafton Street were organised primarily by racist elements who are taking advantage of frustrations with the government’s lack of progress in tackling Covid-19 in Ireland. “There is no evidence that any left elements (‘far’ left or otherwise) were involved in today’s demonstrations. Unless Garda Commissioner Harris is in a position to name such groups, he should immediately withdraw and apologise for his comments.”

Ryan continued:

“Elements such as the National Party and the Irish Freedom Party are dangerous and must be strongly opposed. The injuries sustained by a member of the gardaí today are evidence of this. These outfits consistently oppose public health measures relating to Covid-19 and the vaccination programme. Moreover, they use these issues to breed division between different ethnicities and communities in Ireland.

“Nothing of this sort can be said of any left-wing force in Ireland. The persistent attempt by the establishment to paint these far right extremists as somehow equivalent to left-wing activists is inaccurate and dangerous.”

She concluded:

“We have reached a point where the public’s patience is wearing thin. Because of this government’s appalling refusal to pursue a zero covid approach, people without work or childcare, whose children are missing school, are unconvinced that the government is taking this sacrifice seriously.

“It is this failure which is ultimately responsible for today’s demonstrations, fuelled further by far right extremists. The left, of any persuasion, had no part to play, and Commissioner Harris must publicly recognise this.”