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Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008

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Dublin, Saturday, March 8, 2008

Irving speech to college society cancelled

by John Lawrence

THE SPEECH by controversial historian and holocaust denier David Irving will not now take place in Cork on Monday night.

Mr Irving was due to take part in a debate on free speech organised by the UCC Philosophical Society, but opposition to his visit has been mounting all week.

Ross Frenett, auditor of the society, blamed the cancellation on violent threats by individuals along with a campaign of intimidation against society members.

He also cited an "understandable lack of support from elements in the university who did not want to take any risks" and claimed there was pressure from gardaf over the secret off-campus venue at which the event was to be held.

It is the second time that Mr Irving has been barred from talking at a UCC-related meeting, as the first invitation in 1999 led to ugly protests.

Speaking to The Irish Times last night, Mr Irving said he was not surprised by the decision -- such incidents were "nothing new" to him. He said he was approached to take part in the discussion last November [2007] and, while his flight was being paid for, he was not getting a fee to speak nor would his accommodation be funded by the society.

He said he would be coming to Cork nonetheless and would speak in a private house as "a matter of principle", adding that he couldn't "be silenced". Supt Mick Finn of Anglesea Street Garda [police] station confirmed that he received notification about the cancellation.

Mr Irving was invited to appear on The Late Late Show last night to take part in a debate which also involved UCD lecturer Dr Robert Gerwarth and journalist Jon Ihle.

Irving was invited by the UCC Philosophical Society to speak in favour of the proposition "That this house believes free speech should be free from restraint".

Mr Irving said last night he did not deny the Holocaust took place, but said he was a "sceptic". He described the mass murders as "the Jewish tragedy of World War Two" and added that "big Jewish organisations" were involved in a "big money-spinning device" that had little to do with the suffering.


Our dossier on the origins of anti-Semitism
David Irving: A Radical's Diary. In Dublin's Fair City
Holocaust denier prompts University College Cork to up debate security
Deja Vu: This is not the first time Mr Irving has tried to speak in Cork: Kicks and punches fly in riot at college

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