Channel 4 News reporter Paraic O'Brien visited Longford recently to investigate how online activists are contributing to Ireland’s immigration debate.
He visited St John's National School in Longford town which found itself propelled into the spotlight as a photo showing pupils from the school was posted online, without consent of the parents of the children or the school, and the post was accompanied by the following words - 'Irish people are quickly becoming an ethnic minority in many towns'.
The report concludes with a powerful and poignant contribution from Aneta Safiak, a parent of one of the children in the photograph.
"We went through a very personal tragedy. We lost our baby and we buried our baby here at the local cemetery (Ballymacormack). And there is this quote from a Colombian writer that I really, really love. It goes, 'one doesn't belong to any soil unless they have their loved one buried in it. So now I have my loved one buried in the Irish soil in Longford and this is where I belong."
Thank you so much for all your kind words. To say that I am overwhelmed would be an understatement. I'm glad you got to know my family a bit more. ❤ @DumbartonOne @Annie_deBhal @fionapettit71 @RobertBohan @sheilareilly123 @IzzyKamikaze— Aneta C Safiak (@ASafiak) June 15, 2019
Excellent report Paraic. Great to see some real context & depth on the issue. I say that as a Longford person. Aneta made such a powerful & striking contribution #lovelylongford https://t.co/nX1Qjok7lv— Fran McNulty (@franmcnulty) June 15, 2019
Excellent reportage.— Ciaran Tierney (@ciarantierney) June 15, 2019
Amazing the slant the #Altshite "ex-journalist" put on her confrontation with Paraic on @YouTube when he was actually doing a reporter's job, asking why a photo of innocent #Longford school kids should be used to spread hatred, intolerance, and fear.
Great work. We worked @BrehonAdvisory researching mapping and generating the social integration cohesion strategy for Longford please follow for DM— Shelley Deane (@shelleydeane) June 15, 2019
Great work indeed Paraic- and beautifully finished— Philip Bromwell (@philipbromwell) June 14, 2019
The beginning of the report with the children singing was beautiful and the last 30 seconds choked me up.— Liam MacU (@LiamMacU) June 14, 2019
‘This is where I belong.’— Cathal Mac Coille (@CMacCoille) June 14, 2019
Great work Paraic, much needed.
Some very good parts in your piece Paraic, but why do you give air time to extremists so they can publicize their obnoxious opinions? No public person interviewed to say what most think, that O’Doherty is a truly awful person. Talk about the EU elections where they failed big.— Solar Ireland (@SolarInvest) June 14, 2019
Píosa álainn, great report, grá abú— Richie Ó hEadhra (@OHeadhra) June 15, 2019
A brilliant piece of journalism by Channel 4 and Paraic O'Brien.— Stephen Lewis (@vegansmithsfan) June 15, 2019
However it also raises serious questions. Why hasn't mainstream media in Ireland like RTE and the Irish Times investigated the far right in Ireland? And why do social media outlets continue to platform them?
Longford Leader gallery: Longford pulls out all the stops for diversity rally