Holocaust denier David Irving has been invited to speak at our university by the Literary and Debating Society (Lit & Deb) on the 19 March. The invitation was granted following a vote by the Society last week: 100 for and 63 against inviting Irving. A year ago, Irving was invited to Cork, but the debate was cancelled due to protests and the campaigning of the Stop Irving Campaign. I am informed that the motion will probably be of the form: 'That This House believes the Holocaust happened.'
I don't know if the organisers have considered the consequences of the EU Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia, which was agreed to by EU ministers at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 19 April 2007. The text requires that EU States make it a punishable crime to publicly condone, deny or grossly trivialise crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. Member States may choose to punish only conduct which is either carried out in a manner likely to disturb public order or which is threatening, abusive or insulting.
Whatever position one takes about whether Irving should be punished for such crimes, it is an entirely different matter to welcome this vile bottom-feeder to our university and give him a prestigious platform that has been occupied by distinguished visitors in the past. There are also cranks who believe that the earth is flat, but we don't invite them to deliver seminars in the geography department. Hopefully, the Irish immigration authorities will not let him into the country. Certainly any reasonable reading of the EU Framework Decision should lead to the conclusion that he cannot be welcome in Ireland, or at the University.