(NationalUSNews.com) — In the wake of the horrific knife attack on several small Irish children and their caregiver, former UFC champion Conor McGregor is being investigated for “online hate speech” regarding his online post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
Like many users, he expressed outrage at the attack and disdain for the government’s policies. The violent assault on the children has set off a wave of protests and riots in Dublin, which some believe is the culmination of Irish frustration with unchecked immigration, which may have contributed to rising crime in Ireland. For his part, McGregor says that he does not connect crime with immigrants; he connects crime with what he calls the government’s failure to protect the citizens of Ireland. He says that they need to carefully assess people entering the country and deport anyone who is there illegally or who commits any crime.
McGregor says he does not condone rioting but believes people are right to demand change. The Irish Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, has condemned the riots as disgraceful hooligan far-right displays. McGregor is among numerous Irish voices harshly criticizing the media and police framing of the protests as far-right extremism.
However, rather than focusing on securing the borders or rooting out criminal elements that may have slipped into the country under the guise of legitimate immigration, the Irish government is working hard to curtail free speech. Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanaiste Micheál Martin calls any criticism of Irish immigration “inciting hate,” while Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadke has called for immediate legislation to allow police to target anyone making such critical online posts.
While inciting violence may be a problem, there is some indication that the suspect in this case may have had a known history of violence. The citizens of Ireland may rightly feel that a pivot to speech laws will not protect them from knife attacks, and perhaps law enforcement might calm tensions by focusing on physical safety rather than unkind internet commentary.
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