Editorial: It is not the media or the government's role to censor the reason for the Dublin riots

News Letter editorial on Wednesday November 29 2023:
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​The Irish prime minister yesterday acknowledged that the man behind the stabbings in Dublin las week was an immigrant.​

Leo Varadkar said the man had arrived from overseas 20 years ago and been granted Irish citizenship. The stabbing of four people in Dublin last Thursday led to anti immigrant rioting. A girl aged five is still in hospital.

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It is almost a week since the stabbing, yet the status of the attacker has been kept quiet. Multiple reports last weekend, 48 hours after the attack, did not mention that fact and merely referred to ‘far right’ and ‘anti immigrant’ rioting. This made news confusing, describing anti immigrant riots but not saying why they took place.

Among those who did not explain the immigrant status of the attacker were the UK and Republic of Ireland national broadcasters, the BBC and RTE. These organisations are very well staffed and could have got to the bottom of the matter. This seems to confirm to a trend in which salient facts in stories are toned down, seemingly out of sensitivity, for example not mentioning that an attack has been carried out by an Islamic extremist. It is not the media or government’s role.

The violence was utterly outrageous, and it is to be hoped the Gardai bring the culprits to justice. Mr Varadkar noted that this girl’s parents were themselves immigrants, as were four of the “five or six people who intervened to stop the attack”. But if the rioters believe that the attacker was an immigrant then this should be conveyed to people, even if the belief of the rioters was inaccurate – it is still part of the whole story (in the event the belief was not inaccurate).

Mr Varadkar’s background, like that of his UK counterpart Rishi Sunak, is a story of stunning immigrant success, and an illustration of multi-culturalism at its best. Yet across Europe, in the finest civilisations in history, from Germany to France, tens of millions of people are troubled by massive rates of immigration. These concerns must be reported openly.