Priest calls for EU investigation into anti-Semitism in Ireland

Priest calls for EU investigation into anti-Semitism in Ireland Photo: CNS

Anti-Semitism must be rooted out in Ireland according to a Cork-based priest following the publication of a damning independent report last week.

The report, collated by investigative journalist and activist David Collier over many years, included searches of the social media pages of multiple Irish politicians. It found hundreds of instances of the spread of fake anti-Semitic propaganda, calls for the state of Israel’s abolition and the use of common anti-Semitic tropes used for centuries to attack Jewish people.

Fr Gabriel Burke CC of Blarney parish said the EU should investigate anti-Semitism in Ireland and that there should also “be an open honest debate”.

“Why do these people go so quickly into anti-Jewish mode? They will say it’s not anti-Jewish it’s anti-Israel but I mean the stuff they say, it needs to be brought out into the light and debated publicly, why do people say such things?” said Fr Burke.

“At this stage the EU should set up some sort of envoy to Ireland to look into it and see how deep this goes. There should be an official investigation.

“It seems only the EU can investigate this because the Irish politicians aren’t going to investigate themselves and what will happen is that will filter down. The Irish people themselves are generally not too bad but it will filter into the debates and it will filter into the parties, we need to root this out, it must be nipped in the bud.”

Maurice Cohen, Chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland welcomed Mr Collier’s report and urged that all political parties and both houses of the Oireachtas adopt the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of anti-Semitism. The Government is already a European signatory.

“We further call on the Government to immediately appoint an envoy on antiSemitism to the European Commission, as requested by the EC several years ago. On Monday 47 countries signed a UNHRC pledge to fight anti-Semitism. So far Ireland has not signed this pledge. The Government should do so without further delay,” Mr Cohen said.

“The need for the above measures is urgent. They will not be covered in the proposed new legislation on racism.”