Interview: Irish Times (Conor Gallagher)

We've been contacted by Conor Gallagher, Crime Correspondent for the Irish Times for an interview. He is currently "researching a piece on the Irish extreme right".

We have been asked the following questions:

And here is our complete response. We are looking forward to reading the finished article:

Hi Conor,Thank you for reaching out.Was HFI involved in last saturday’s protest? If not, why not?
HFI were not involved in last Saturday’s protest as we weren’t available for that date. Our understanding is that it was an additional date added by Yellow Vest Ireland due to public demand. With a volunteer-run organisation we can’t commit to more than 1 event a month. Our next event is planned for October 3rd.

Are you concerned about the presence of far-right elements such as the National Party at your protest in August?
HFI is a non-political group. We are highlighting concerns that a large number of the people living in Ireland have over the government’s actions in the past few months. We are inclusive and all are welcome to come to the protest.

We ask that all people in this country that share some or all of our concerns set aside any other differences they may have and unite for the common concerns that we all have in a peaceful manner. These concerns are centred around the government’s disproportionate response to the health crisis. Right now we want all groups to call on the government to end the health crisis, return to the old normal and support the health of our vulnerable citizens as best we can, while providing people with the many effective treatment options that exist elsewhere for COVID-19. There is no reason to drag this on any longer.

Are you worried far-right activists are using concerns the about the Covid-19 restrictions as a vehicle to garner more support for their causes?
We cannot control who is going to show up and who might share our views on this topic. To us the potential loss of freedom of choice and bodily integrity is a huge concern and the more people realise this and make their voices heard the better.

We are protesting for a very specific reason and we don’t expect every participant to agree with us on everything else also. In fact, even within our own group we have a huge diversity of opinion on different topics. We believe this is healthy and makes life richer. The suppression of such diversity is exactly what we are concerned with in regards to the non-existing public debate.

If we were to impose similar controls, we wouldn’t be living the changes we want to see.

Philip Dwyer of the National Party said he and others were providing security for the protest last month. Was HFI aware of this?
HFI being a non-political group, we are not in contact with Philip Dwyer or anyone else in any political party. HFI is a peaceful organisation. We thank the Gardaí for their efforts to facilitate a peaceful and lawful protest.

Do you think HFI has an obligation to send the message that racist/white supremist organisations are not welcome at your events?
We are not aware of any such organisations in Ireland. The people within HFI are concerned individuals from diverse backgrounds including, but not limited to scientists, doctors, lawyers and parents. Many have had experience of their child being injured by vaccines. All wish for information on vaccines and medical interventions to be easily accessible to the public so that they can make informed choices for their own health and well-being.
We welcome any individual that shares these concerns to attend representing themselves with all other agendas put aside.

Lastly, could you give me a little information as to how HFI is funded?
We are funded by volunteer contributions and donations as per disclosure on our website

.Kind regards,

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