Radical right-wing politics on the island of Ireland

Shaun McDaid, Jim McAuley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores radical right-wing politics on the island of Ireland. Whilst media attention concerning the “rise of the far-right” has increased, the chapter demonstrates that radical right-wing politics has always been a consistent, if numerically and influentially small section, of Irish political life. In Northern Ireland, radical right groups from Great Britain have attempted to make gains but, despite their best efforts, have been unable to garner much support. What has changed in recent years is the nature of the messaging of the radical right across Ireland. Where before, issues such as emigration and the partition of the island (in the Republic of Ireland) and Irish republicanism (in Northern Ireland) were key focal points for the radical right, contemporary manifestations focus on cultural issues including immigration, abortion, gender and sexuality, and, latterly, COVID-19 scepticism. Radical right groups face competition from traditional left-wing republican parties such as Sinn Féin in the Republic of Ireland, and generally unfavourable conditions for recruitment in loyalist communities in Northern Ireland, given the latter's propensity to celebrate British military tradition fighting European fascism. Crucially, an extreme rivalry has hampered the emergence of a united radical right. Thus, whilst well-equipped to establish a long-term presence in Irish political life, there seems little prospect of a major breakthrough in either jurisdiction in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Far-Right Extremism in Europe
EditorsKatherine Kondor, Mark Littler
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003256892
ISBN (Print)9781032187976
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks

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