THE GARDA Commissioner Drew Harris has admitted he is concerned about the rise of right-wing extremism in Ireland.
Speaking at a meeting of the Policing Authority yesterday, Commissioner Harris warned that Ireland is not immune to the right-wing extremism which is spreading across Europe, according to The Journal and The Independent.
“I am concerned about right-wing extremism," he said. "We can see evidence of it on our shores as we have seen it spread across Europe.
“We’re not immune to it. Our response to hate crime and extremism is very important,” he added.
“What I see is that there’s a rise of right-wing extremism right across Europe. The difficulty of this is that it’s spread through the web and social media.
“We just need to be very careful in terms of some of the things that have happened as of late in Ireland and that’s starting to arrive on our shores.
“However, we’re acutely aware of the policing and intelligence response we need to have in order to thwart this particular threat,”
In October, a mixed race couple and their young son left Ireland after an appearance in an advert for Lidl ended with a campaign of racial abuse and death threats directed against them and their son.
Soon afterwards, gardaí announced they would introduce a working definition of Hate Crime in order to properly investigate reports of that nature.
During the meeting, the Commissioner was also asked about the imminent return of 'ISIS Bride' Lisa Smith, who is due to arrive back in Ireland this week after travelling to Syria several years ago to join the Islamic State.
While he would not comment on the specifics of the case, he confirmed that Smith would be subject to a criminal investigation upon her return, saying "that’s about as far as I’m going to go with that answer”.