Anti-racism group Fingal Communities Against Racism says it is concerned that far-right groups are urging small business owners to open their businesses despite ongoing public health restrictions.
In a statement, the group said that “in Ireland and internationally, far-right groups are targeting business owners with a social media campaign pushing for a so-called ‘great reopening’.
“The ‘great reopening’ originated with the British far-right.
“It wasn’t long before anti-mask and Covid denialist groups connected to the far-right were co-ordinating a similar campaign here.”
The group say that the “current restrictions are difficult for everyone in our communities and owners of small local businesses are experiencing great uncertainty and financial strain.
“This has been exacerbated by government failures, including mixed-messaging and poor communication.
“Given this situation, it is not surprising that some frustrated businesses owners are willing to listen to anybody who claims they will assist them to re-open.”
However, the organisation says that far-right groups are taking advantage of the opportunity, encouraging small businesses to open
“The far-right sees Covid as an opportunity to exploit people’s difficulties in order to gain a media profile and support,” it said.
“Business owners need to be wary about who is giving them legal advice and what their agenda is.
“For instance, is advice coming from legal practitioners who are registered with the Law Society and Bar Council?
“If business-owners break Covid restrictions on foot of advice that does not stand up in court, they will be ones who may end up facing consequences, including fines.
The anti-racism group says the majority of businesses are adhering to the guidelines and warn people of the dangers of reopening.
“The vast majority of small business owners are complying with public health restrictions, despite financial difficulties.
“They want to protect staff, customers, frontline workers and the wider community, from the deadly pandemic that has ended the lives of so many people in our community during the past few months.
“We all look forward to the time when local businesses can safely reopen their doors.
“We want older and more vulnerable family-members, friends and neighbours to share better days ahead with us.”