Ex-Pegida member fears violent clashes over founder's Limerick address

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Ex-Pegida member fears violent clashes over founder's Limerick address

Lutz Bachmann, Pegida founder

AN EX-MEMBER of Pegida Ireland has warned that there could be violent clashes in Limerick if its German founder gives an address here this month.

Lutz Bachmann, the controversial founder of Pegida, the anti-Islamist group, is to speak in Limerick this June “to highlight the mass sexual assaults on European women by Muslim men”, which they claim has been covered up by the political class across Europe.

The announcement has been met with growing opposition, with Fianna deputies Niall Collins expressing strong concerns, and Willie O’Dea urging the divisive group to stay away.

One former member, who does not wish to be identified, told the Limerick Leader that he joined the group after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

While he said he did not agree with the killing of journalists, and nor with the cartoons they published, he became concerned about the “Islamisation of Ireland and a desire to protect our own culture.”

“I don’t have a major problem with Muslims, but I don’t want to see any woman walking around in burqas, or not being allowed to drive

“I believe that I had good intentions but they were hijacked by other people. Pegida Ireland closed up and it was restarted by Identity Ireland.

“I strongly disagree with Bachmann’s visit to Limerick and Ireland. I don’t think any person with a criminal conviction should be allowed into Ireland – it’s just wrong.

“This group is breeding hate for the sake of breeding hate, and a lot of people in Ireland have now left Pegida. They feel that Pegida is becoming quite dangerous because of the people involved.

They continued: “There could be massive protests if he comes to Limerick and potentially violent protests, on the same scale as the one in Dublin.”

After leaving Pegida, he claimed to have met a Muslim cleric in Dublin, apologised for their actions and said he’d work with them to oppose Pegida. 

An exact date and venue for Bachmann’s talk has yet to be announced.

In a recent statement to the Limerick Leader, an Identity Ireland spokesperson said: “Mr Bachmann wants to highlight the failure of  multiculturalism and to highlight the mass sexual assaults on European women by Muslim Asian/Middle Eastern and African men which has been covered up by the political class not just in Germany but all over Europe”.

Just last month Bachmann, who founded Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West), was fined €9,600 by a Dresden court for a Facebook outburst in which he branded immigrants “cattle” and “scum”. 

Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea told this newspaper that in a climate when thousands of migrants are seeking refuge on a daily basis – with some 50 Syrians recently settled in Limerick and another 50 due to be settled here by the end of the year – “this is the last thing that anyone needs.”

“We’re trying to assimilate and integrate people into our communities. The last thing we need now is people sort of stirring divisions.

“I think they’d be doing the whole area a big favour if they stayed away quite frankly, in view of the reaction they’re provoking in other places,” he said. His party colleague Deputy Niall Collins also said “the news that Pegida are to set to demonstrate in Limerick following an invitation from Identity Ireland is worrying.